Manhattan city commissioners unanimously approved Tuesday an ordinance for an off-street parking lot for Woodrow Wilson Elementary.
School officials said the lot aims to alleviate parking concerns faced by staff, parents and visitors at Woodrow Wilson at 312 North Juliette Ave.
The proposed 21-stall parking lot area at 600 Osage St. is vacant after a fire burned down a building on the property in January 2018, according to city officials. The Manhattan-Ogden school district now owns the property.
Despite an alternative plan outlined by Manhattan resident Chad Moreau and comments against the proposal from other citizens due to the loss of space for a potential residential home, commissioners ultimately settled on the school district’s off-street parking lot proposal.
Several Woodrow Wilson teachers and faculty spoke in favor of the parking area.
“We need a safe lot with enough room to load and unload our cars, and this plan for the lot at Sixth and Osage looks like a pretty nice parking lot to me,” said Rebecca Price, reading aide at the school. “It would fit the neighborhood very well. Parking on the street with cars speeding by is dangerous.”
Moreau’s alternative design suggested 20 parking spots about 200 feet closer to the school.
“The example alternative plan I present you tonight is better, cheaper and safer while saving 600 Osage for a future downtown family to enjoy,” Moreau said. “There are six major stakeholders around this issue: teachers and staff, then the USD, then the 600 block of Osage residents, the broader neighborhood, parents of Woodrow Wilson students and finally, local municipalities — USD and the city. This plan is better for all six.”
Staff at the school claimed the alternative design would have removed valuable playground space for students to use during recess.
“Thinking about taking away any of this space, it just breaks my heart because it’s one less space for a child to imagine and create,” said Brooke Snyder, fourth-grade teacher at Woodrow Wilson. “And that’s what we’re trying to inspire our children to do.”