Beginning next August, the Chicago Zoological Society has agreed to rent 10 parking spaces in Brookfield Zoo’s south parking lot to Riverside Elementary School District 96 for use by Hollywood School teachers and staff. 

The District 96 Board of Education unanimously approved the agreement last week. The school district will pay the zoo $10 each month for each parking space.

The 10 spots reserved for Hollywood staff will be in the southwestern portion of the zoo lot near Rockefeller Avenue. District 96 Superintendent Martha Ryan-Toye said District 96 has offered to pay to put in a new gate near the parking area.

However, Hollywood staff will only use the new gate to exit the lot. Staff will enter the zoo parking lot at the South Gate entrance by Riverside-Brookfield High School, a spot that is already congested at the start of the school day with parents dropping off kids and students and teachers driving to school.

Ryan-Toye has been searching for additional parking for Hollywood School, because a new multipurpose room will be added to the back of Hollywood School next summer, shrinking the size of the existing school parking by about 10 spaces. The parking lot currently has 15 official parking spaces but more cars than that, sometimes as many as 23, squeeze into the lot on school days.

After the addition is built, there will only be space for eight vehicles in the school lot. Ryan-Toye said she would like to get a total of 22 to 24 parking spaces for the school split between the school parking lot, the zoo lot and some street parking that she is hoping the village of Brookfield will permit. 

There are 34 employees listed on the Hollywood School’s staff directory, but not all of them are at the school at the same time. A number of faculty split their time between Hollywood and other district schools.

The school district plans to ask the village of Brookfield to issue permits to allow some Hollywood teachers to park on Hollywood Avenue on school days.

“We do anticipate asking the village of Brookfield for some street spaces, too,” Ryan-Toye told the Landmark. “We’ve asked to be included on a [village board] agenda in November.” 

Ryan-Toye said she hopes that the village would issue eight to 10 street parking permits allowing faculty to park on the street during school hours. Currently all-day street parking is not allowed in the area near the school. 

Ryan-Toye went before the Brookfield Village Board a few months ago to discuss street parking for teachers. At that time, the village board deferred action, wanting the school district to see if it could get some parking spaces at the zoo. 

Now that the district has obtained some parking spaces in the zoo lot, the village board could be more disposed to permit some street parking for Hollywood teachers, Brookfield Village Manager Tom Wiberg said.

Parking has been a sore subject in Hollywood for years, especially after a contentious two-year battle between the village and Riverside-Brookfield High School over a new parking lot the high school built in 2017.