Ra'anana residents threaten to fight soccer stadium plans

Residents of Ra'anana's Lev Hapark neighborhood are threatening to sue the city for the loss of value to their properties if it goes ahead with plans to upgrade the local soccer field in preparation for the city's move into the top league in the 2009-2010 season, reports www.local.co.il. The residents say that upgrading the field and transferring league games there will significantly lower the value of their properties and harm their quality of life, creating noise, traffic and dirt in the neighborhood, and limiting their access to parking spaces. According to the report, the city began making plans to upgrade the soccer field in the Lev Hapark neighborhood at the western edge of the city after Hapoel Ra'anana advanced to the Israeli Premier League (Ligat Ha'al) at the end of the 2008-2009 season. But those plans have met with resistance by residents of the area, who say Hapoel Ra'anana should stay in its current home, located in the more densely populated center of the city. A committee of residents met with city officials last week, who reportedly told them the decision to upgrade the Lev Hapark soccer field had been made unanimously by city managers and approved by the city council, and "could not be changed." A committee spokesman said that residents would continue to fight against the decision and to demand that the Hapoel Ra'anana grounds stay in the center of the city and not move to their area. The spokesman said residents had begun organizing a petition against the upgrade, and a meeting would be held with Mayor Nahum Hofree next week.