Freedom Hill Gets Graded

The summer concert season ended September 16th at Sterling Heights, Mich.’s Jerome-Duncan Ford Theatre at Freedom Hill, and the noise level appears to be in check. The venue, city and neighbors have fought bitterly about decibel levels in years past.

The 7,000-seat venue has been a point of contention in the city since it opened, with neighbors complaining of noise and traffic. Freedom Hill claimed the city went beyond the pale in its efforts to shut the venue down. In 2002, a U.S. district judge wholeheartedly agreed, resulting in a $31 million settlement for the amphitheatre.

Some of the money was used to build a sound wall and roof. As part of the settlement, the venue agreed to keep concerts to 95 decibels or less.

Officials monitoring this season’s concerts said the shed lived up to its word. Sound was measured near the mixing board and near the wall, and it was unusual for artists to peak above 90 decibels, according to the Sterling Heights Mirror.

But some neighbors say nothing’s changed. One, Rick Lapointe, attended several City Council meetings and maintained that the noise level is the same as it ever was, according to The Macomb Daily. Lapointe said complaints are down because neighbors have learned the phone calls don’t make a difference.

A married couple reportedly said they can still feel the dishes rattle in their house but agreed the noise level was affected by weather, such as humidity and wind direction.

While some residents contacted by the Daily agreed the noise level seemed to be the same, others said it hasn’t bothered them.