St. Anthony Park residents deal with stadium noise


If it’s not one thing it’s another.

A week after the Sept. 12 debut of TCF Bank Stadium, the University of Minnesota’s new football facility, generated complaints from St. Anthony Park residents about noise during the game, some of those same people were awakened early Saturday morning, Sept. 19, to the sounds of band practice.

Jack Steinmann said he was awakened sometime before 6 a.m. by what sounded like the marching band practicing. Cathy O’Dell said she woke around 5:30 a.m. to the sound of drumming and guessed it was coming from the stadium. She went back to sleep until 7:30, when she was awakened again, this time by the Star Spangled Banner.

Brian Swanson, U of M stadium project coordinator, said the marching band has historically started game-day practice six hours before game time and that for the Sept. 19 game, practice started at 5 a.m. on the field in TCF Bank Stadium. He said he hadn’t heard any reports that people near the stadium were bothered by band practice noise.

Swanson said the university has been generally pleased with how things have gone at the first two home football games.

“Getting people in and out of the stadium – traffic and parking – have gone very smoothly,” he said.

Swanson said that noise problems after the first game were reported only by people living east of the stadium. He said the university received no complaints from other neighborhoods near the stadium – Dinkytown, Stadium Village or Prospect Park.

Swanson said the university continues to consult with sound engineers to determine the best way to direct sound in the stadium.

“We’re still trying to figure out what’s happened and why,” he said. “Getting everything right will be an iterative process.”

Swanson said that fans inside the stadium during the first game had mixed reactions to sound levels. “Some people at the game said it was too loud; others said they couldn’t hear,” he said.

He said that reports about the second game were still being assembled.

Swanson noted that controlling sound is both an art and a science.

“Sound can be affected by so many things – weather, time of day, season of the year,” he said.

Reaction to noise after the second game was more muted in St. Anthony Park than with the first game. Sally Brown, who lives on Ludlow Avenue, said, “I could hear the P.A. some, both through the open windows of my house and in the back yard, but it was definitely not as loud as last week.”

Brown said she went for a walk duing the second half and could hear the game clearly while crossing the Raymond Avenue bridge south of Energy Park Drive.  “After I crossed the bridge I heard essentially no game noise.”

Steinmann said it’s puzzling why stadium noise is louder two miles away from the stadium than in the immediate vicinity.

“I’m starting to wonder if the stadium is functioning as a large parabolic reflector, directing sound over a significant distance to the higher elevations of St. Anthony Park.” he said.