A couple things jumped out at me while reading last week’s Landmark article about RB’s parking woes lot (“RBHS seeks to ease parking woes,” News, April 30). First, although I’m a big proponent of improving athletic facilities, I was shocked to hear that the administration is considering installing a new field turf surface in Shuey Stadium to replace the current field that is less than eight years old.
I don’t know the specifics of those field turf surfaces, and I know that field is heavily used, but for the initial cost of the field I thought field turf was much more durable and would last longer than it has. Did RB not have a maintenance plan attached to the original cost of installation? And for how long was the original warranty?
Second, assuming RB released its preliminary parking plan to receive public input, instead of taking away more green/usable space from the school campus, I’d like to think that the Cook County Forest Preserve District would be more willing to work out a solution that is mutually beneficial for the CCFPD, RB and the surrounding community.
This may be pie-in-the-sky mentality on my part but, if it has not already, I think the RB administration should approach the CCFPD to explore solutions, possibly even resurrection of the idea for a two- or three-story parking garage north of RB where the CCFPD parking lot sits.
One floor can be dedicated to zoo overflow parking, the other floors can be dedicated to RB for the entire year. This might work especially if RB agrees to pay for half or a large portion of the construction of the lot.
Instead of “renting” the lot, RB has already paid for it. And the annual rent it used to pay to the CCFPD can be used for maintenance of RB’s sections of the lot.
By the way, the parking deck also can incorporate some green space, such as flower beds and small tree beds on the top floor, living walls and flower beds along the exterior, etc., to help add green space, help it blend into the campus and decrease the heat island effect. RB also wouldn’t have to displace the tennis courts in this scenario
Another parking option is to build a two-story parking deck on the currently identified site north of Hollywood School without the entrance on Hollywood Avenue. I would think a dual entrance/exit from Rockefeller is a better option. Either way, some really effective traffic control measures must be put in place to not endanger the children, parents & faculty of the entire RB/Hollywood School campus.
We all know space around RB is limited, which makes it even more crucial for RB to make every effort to ensure the long-term viability of such an endeavor, especially to avoid the kinds of problems that plagued the whole-school renovation of a few years ago.
Although not as encompassing as that renovation, this parking lot plan will change the campus landscape (literally and figuratively) as well as impact the culture within the school and the community for decades to come. All options —not just the easiest —should be considered.