Superintendent John Simpson and the Webster Groves School Board see the promise of new revenue and the chance to help a new local business get on its feet as good reasons to allow the lot at Bristol Elementary School to be leased for event parking.
Bristol is located at 20 Gray Ave.
Details of a lease agreement have yet to be vetted, but Simpson said neighborhood safety will be the main factor in deciding whether to enter into the arrangement. About 50 parking spaces are being considered for lease to business owners looking to build a microbrewery/brew pub at the former Auto Beauty location on Lockwood.
“The proposal specifies that only drivers from a professional valet company would park cars at Bristol, which would only be used during after-school hours,” Simpson reported to the board at a May 13 meeting.
Other safety imperatives include a proviso that Gore Avenue would be the only entrance and exit point, and that the lot would only be available Thursday through Sunday. A privacy fence would be installed to mitigate parking lights and sound along Cedar Avenue, and no vehicles can remain on the lot later than 5 a.m. following an event.
“Before taking any steps, we apprised families and (neighboring) Cardinal Orthodontics about this proposal and what it entails. While we want to support and encourage the local business community as much as possible and recognize the community’s desire for the district to seek alternative sources of revenue, we also want to ensure that any proposed activity wouldn’t adversely affect residents who live near the school,” Simpson said.
The possible agreement would require city approval. Board President Amy Clendennen said the district has plenty of time to decide what it wants to do.
“We don’t want anyone to feel this is something being pushed down anyone’s throat,” Clendennen said.
The board should vote on the agreement at its June 10 meeting.
Board Won’t Agree To School Resource Officers With Body Cams
The board extended its relationship with the Webster Groves Police Department for the next school year after rejecting Police Chief Dale Curtis’ suggestion that school resource officers (SROs) wear body cameras during their school shifts.
“As decided and directed by the Webster Groves School District, school resource officers will not utilize body-worn cameras while engaging in their routine, non-uniformed duties,” the board stipulated in a statement.
“For a variety of reasons, including the effectiveness of our current camera system and the adverse effect the presence of body cameras would have on our SROs’ relationships with students, we’ve made the decision to not have the officers wear the cameras during the day. Our SROs and other police officers will wear them when in uniform and outside the regular school day,” the statement read.