Roosevelt School (Courtesy District 90)

River Forest’s District 90 public elementary schools on Friday intends to submit yet another application to renovate the exterior of Roosevelt Middle School – and this one they hope will finally pass village muster.

Three times before, the district has been unable to get its project to the final stage – winning approval from village trustees.

Trustees in 2013 bounced one proposal back to the district for revisions. Earlier this year, one iteration was shelved after residents’ concerns over parking and safety. A third effort was approved in April and then tabled two months later.

Now after getting feedback from the village’s Development Review Board (DRB), the district has readied its paperwork. Residents who live within a 500 foot radius of Roosevelt can voice their concerns during a public session Monday at 7 p.m. at  Roosevelt. Their comments then will be attached to the application, District 90 Supt. Ed Condon said.

A public hearing on the project is slated for 7:30 p.m., Nov. 20 at Willard Elementary School, 1250 N. Ashland Ave.

Monday’s meeting and the public hearings next month will be conducted by the DRB, which has to weigh the application because D90 is seeking an amendment to a planned development permit granted in 1997 on renovations to the school’s gymnasium. Final approval of the project rests with the village board.

The proposal on the table was one approved in December 2013 and included 20 parking spaces in the North lot and 11 short-term spots in a reconfigured lot by the auditorium. A book drop also would be installed there.

The proposal went before the DRB in March for a pre-filing meeting, but the commission couldn’t muster a second on whether to require an economic impact statement. It never made it past the residents’ meeting phase.

Getting a project to the public hearing stage has been difficult – and parking appears to have been the obstacle. The first iteration of the plan contained parking proposals from a traffic analyst hired by the school district that would make Oak Avenue one-way between Jackson and Lathrop avenues; another would allow for the addition of angled parking along the south side of Oak between Jackson and Lathrop. The Traffic and Safety commission reviewed and rejected those ideas in February 2013. Village trustees sent the suggestions back to District 90 for further review shortly thereafter.

After the second iteration stalled in March, River Forest leaders drafted a plan that would give the area around the school, the Public, Recreational and Institutional area, or PRI, a campus-like feel. The plan was approved by the school board in April, but it was tabled in June, to allow district officials to look at the results of the unrelated parking study for the PRI the village commissioned earlier in the spring.  

In September, the school board returned to the December iteration after discussions between board president Pat Meyer and Village President Catherine Adduci, who suggested the school district move forward with a plan and get it before the DRB “sooner rather than later.”

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