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Oswego SD 308 Board nixes additional parking at Oswego East; neighbors disappointed

OSWEGO – After considering the possibility of adding another parking lot at Oswego East High School, members of the School District 308 Board of Education and the administration have decided against the idea.

The district had investigated the creation of additional vehicle spaces in response to complaints from residents of nearby Prescott Mills about students parking their cars on the subdivision’s streets.

However, when district Superintendent John Sparln asked for direction at the June 6 meeting of the school board, its members indicated they do not believe more parking is the answer.

Sparlin told the board he could not guarantee that the addition of roughly 80 parking spaces to the school grounds would solve the problem.

“This is due to the fact that even adding the additional spots, which would be the most spots we could add onto our existing property, there are still more students who have driver’s licenses than parking spots and that they may still decide to drive and park in the legal parking spots in Prescott Mills,” Sparlin said.

Board member Lauri Doyle said that with enrollment projected to decline, ‘this one makes no sense to me.”

Doyle said efforts by the school district to deter students from parking in Prescott Mills are futile.

“They are parking legally on a public street,” Doyle said.

Sparlin described a May 11 meeting between top school and village of Oswego officials, along with representatives of the various Prescott Mills homeowner associations.

“I shared that we had made announcements at the school about parking in Prescott Mills, about being respectful and following speed limit and parking signs,” Sparlin said.

OEHS has slightly more than 1,000 vehicle parking spaces on the property, with about 650 reserved for students.

Since the school building first opened 16 years ago, three parking lots with a total of about 500 spaces have been added as enrollment has grown over the years.

Board member Jennifer Johnson, who was present at the May 11 meeting, said “the onus has been placed on the school district to fix this.”

Doyle replied: “I don’t think we can fix this.”

“We are always going to have this issue,” Johnson said.

No vote was taken, but the board’s decision was self-evident.

“It’s clear the school district is not going to add a single additional parking space at Oswego East,” said Nathan Brown, president of the Prescott Mills single-family homeowners association.

Currently, about 70 to 90 student vehicles are parked in front of the single-family homes and townhouses along Prescott Mill’s streets on a typical school day, Brown said at a previous board meeting, asserting that an additional 80 spaces on the school grounds “would go a long way to solving this problem.”

The potential parking lot site that has been under consideration is located between a baseball diamond located east of the school building and an access road running along the north side of the school property connecting to Harvey Road.

Sparlin said later that a rough estimate for the cost of adding the parking lot would be about $400,000.

Brown expressed disappointment with the school board members.

“They believe it’s 100% a village issue and have completely washed their hands of any and all responsibility,” Brown said, adding that he will seek another meeting with school and village leaders.

“We deserve so much better than this from our elected officials,” Brown said.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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