River Forest's District 90 left to settle parking issue in Roosevelt School update

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By Deb Kadin

Contributing Reporter

In the end it all came down to parking, and with that issue left open, the District 90 school board Monday will decide whether exterior renovations will take place next year at Roosevelt Middle School in River Forest.

The subcommittee studying the entire project could not reach consensus on the most contentious issue - whether to provide 20 or 27 parking spaces - and so the panel, made up of 16 residents and staff, on Monday, Dec. 9, opted to leave that up to the school board, said Roman Ebert, chair of the board's facilities committee.

"We couldn't come up with one specific consensus and not everyone could agree on one option," Ebert said. "So we're going to give the board two options. They'll be the deciders."

A couple of other minor loose ends still need to be finished, but the subcommittee is comfortable with the cost of the project, now listed at close to $1.2 million, Ebert said.

The school board will meet at 7:30 p.m. Monday in the multipurpose room at Roosevelt Middle School. The room is just off the North lot.

In addition to cost and questions about necessity, parking has drawn considerable criticism about the project's viability.

Twenty was the number of spaces floated during a community forum on the exterior project this fall. Twenty-seven seemed to be a logical half-way point between 20 and 33 that now exist in the lot.

Consensus already has been reached on the vast majority of the project.

The project has been on the drawing boards for nearly two years and was tabled for a time. After the committee reconvened, there were still questions about the scope and cost of the project.

It has been scaled back to $1.13 million and will focus on making the campus safer, dealing with drainage in the north parking lot, improving signage, lighting and other features.

Reader Comments

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Roosevelt Neighbor  

Posted: December 20th, 2013 4:54 PM

Dear Gina- not at all disputing your definition of what constitutes a fact. But the 27 spot configuration being safer? Maybe, maybe not. Many have argued that fewer cars (e.g., 20) coupled with the plaza will be safer than 27 cars and kids crossing the lot. Only time will tell, but to characterize this as a fact is misleading. That's all I meant.

Gina Voci from River Forest  

Posted: December 18th, 2013 2:49 PM

Dear Roosevelt Neighbor: A FACT, or "fact" if you prefer, is true when it can be verified. Feel free to look up the f-a-c-t-s. Do some homework. These statistics are verifiable on documents available to the public. I will admit, there is one disputed figure: there is a posted document that states that 30 spaces are being lost to the school, but the Expanded Committee could only verify 27 spaces lost, and I would rather err on the low side rather than be accused of conflating the numbers.

Fed up taxpayer from River Forest  

Posted: December 18th, 2013 1:48 PM

A couple of years ago, Dist. 90 spent $2.5 million to put the entrance to Roosevelt on the north side of the school. After that spending, they realized that they have put the entrance next to the most dangerous parking lot in the world. Now they are going to spend $1.2 million to fix the problem created by the $2.5 million spent before. And when they are trying to sell the inevitable referendum to pay for all this, they will have the audacity to say they are careful stewards of our taxes.

Roosevelt Neighbor from River Forest  

Posted: December 18th, 2013 1:08 PM

Well I guess if the word "FACT" is spelled in all caps, it must be true! Next time make it bold as well. That will leave no doubt.

Gina Voci from River Forest  

Posted: December 18th, 2013 10:11 AM

FACT: The new lot is not completely fenced in; it is still open to student pedestrian traffic at 4 openings, with 2 "shortcuts" crossing it. FACT: Nothing separates the student plaza from the parking lot except an 8" curb. FACT: The school has not gained 11 parking spaces. It currently has 58 spaces; it will now have 31 spaces. FACT: The 27-space lot had a distinct safety advantage: it eliminated the plaza, preventing students from gathering near a parking lot for recess or other activities

Susan Lucci from River Forest  

Posted: December 17th, 2013 11:57 AM

Today I am sooooo grateful for the dynamic women in town who run PTO's, create community gardens, raise families, run businesses, and worked tirelessly for the past year to make sure everyone's voice was heard in creating the Roosevelt Renovation project. Despite "the usual RF ploys and politics," you unusual women stayed sane, kind and focused on the end goal which benefits all of our children! Thank you!

Suzanne Morrison from River Forest  

Posted: December 13th, 2013 8:33 PM

Per a 2008 police report, a child on a bike was, in fact, hit at the D90 parking lot shared with RFPL. There are also 7 police reports documenting fender benders at that lot between 2008 and 2012. Plus, 3 more fender benders unclear as to whether they occurred at the North lot or at the lot on west side of the school. The proposed plaza keeps cars and students separate. A fence will keep kids in & the plaza serves as a safe walk-thru on their way home, to the library or into the parks.

RF Parent  

Posted: December 12th, 2013 9:36 PM

There has never been a reported accident or injury in the parking lot. Putting a playground right next to a supposedly unsafe parking lot will dramatically increase the odds that the first injury will happen.

RF Taxpayer  

Posted: December 11th, 2013 4:32 PM

I don't understand how you can compromise on safety? A student was hit by a car in this parking lot. Why would the board choose seven parking spaces over the safety of their 671 students?

Kay from River Forest  

Posted: December 11th, 2013 3:23 PM

Recess at the middle school level is about providing options. The students have access to a variety of clubs, activities, the library, the gym, and the outdoor areas. The exterior redo will eliminate parking--the question is how much. The little bit larger lot seems like the way to give the whole community what is needed.

Becca Kaufman from River Forest  

Posted: December 11th, 2013 10:31 AM

Parking has nothing to do with education or the children's safety. And 27 spaces does zero for the kids. But 20 spaces allows a a safer parking area PLUS year round recess (which has huge educational benefits) outdoor educational programming along with the needed storm water management. An additional ELEVEN parking spaces have been added on Lathrop. I have a hard time understanding how parking seems more important than children's educational experience. With 20 spaces everyone wins.

RF Achievement  

Posted: December 11th, 2013 6:46 AM

Unless the issue is about education and improving it - the school board should stay away from making suggestions on taking parking away from school property - and "dumping" in out on Village owned streets.

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