The District 208 Board of Education has declared their intention to convert the tennis courts near the Riverside-Brookfield High School football stadium into a parking lot. As outlined in your pages, this has come against a large protest of Hollywood residents who are against the safety risk, noise, traffic, and loss of a popular recreational space.
Some high school tennis team members have also protested that they do not want to have to play and practice offsite, and other residents from throughout the district have stated they simply do not see the need for a high school surrounded by parking lots and the increase in traffic it may bring.
I have seen about 100 residents from all over the district at District 208 Board of Education meetings over the last two months protest, verbally or in written form, against any form of parking lot at that site.
Of course there are two sides to every story. The District 208 Board of Education has recently stated that the tennis court-parking lot conversion is required for daily student and staff parking at the school and for graduation and teacher-parent conferences, the latter two once-a-year events. The parking is required because now the school leases parking lots from the town of Brookfield and from the Brookfield Zoo. And the spaces from the zoo are not always available.
To their credit, the board has reduced the size of the proposed parking lot originally planned, and Superintendent Kevin Skinkis has been seeking to add 40 spots to a less controversial site nearer the high school. Matt Sinde, the school board president, at their July 8 meeting correctly stated that although they understand the magnitude of the displeasure of Hollywood residents for the loss of the tennis courts and its replacement with a parking lot, the board members represent the whole district. In fact, he went on to say, there already have been 45 student requests for parking at RBHS for next year in anticipation of the new lot.
I would answer Mr. Sinde to say I do not follow his numbers. The way I see it, about 100 residents have protested against the tennis court parking lot conversion at the biweekly board of education meetings. I have heard no one from the community come out in support of the plan at these meetings.
If we assume the 90 or so parents/guardians of students on the parking waiting list all are in favor of the new construction, I would say the numbers come out at best even. And if Dr. Skinkis gets the 40 or so spots behind the school, the number in favor of the parking lot would be even less.
The board of education may want to convert the tennis courts for student/staff parking and parking for the annual graduation and parent-teacher conferences, but the support for this questionable project does not appear to be there in the community.