Street. LOUIS DISTRICT – Voters will decide on Tuesday whether a private school can operate outside the former dog museum in Queeny Park for at least the next four decades.
Proposal D would allow St. Louis County to lease three buildings and 3 acres around the park to a rentary school for $ 2.8 million over the next 40 years, or $ 5,833 per month, plus services and maintenance. The school plans to build a playground, cafeteria and gym on the site, which will be opened to students in the fall of 2023.
The school has 42 preschoolers up to second grade in its current location on 11 acres of wooded area about a mile south on Mason Road in the city and state. The school plans to eventually expand to 120 students in the kindergarten by fifth grade, if voters approve the lease.
In Raintree, where tuition is about $ 18,000 a year, students spend a third to a half of the day outdoors. They grow their food in the gardens and the campus is mostly powered by solar energy.
“Being the first forest school in Missouri, we very much appreciate the outdoor space,” said Ilya Eidelman, the school’s principal. “Quinny Park has always been a big component in that.”
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The 16,372-square-foot complex includes the Greek Revival-style Gerville House, a carriage house and the former AKC Dog Museum, which moved to New York in 2018 after more than 30 years in the park under a $ 1 lease. sleep.
The Jarville House was built in 1853 on the estate of Edgar Quinny, former Monsanto chairman. The 564-acre site was converted into a public park in the 1970s after Quinny’s death. The vacant home is now registered in the National Register of Historic Places.
Neighbors who oppose the proposal said they are concerned about traffic in schools, the architectural integrity of the buildings and the county is giving up part of the public park.
“We would have given up a wonderful piece of our history for private use,” said Cyril Narishkin, president of the Homeowners’ Association for the Van Cortland Place sub-subdivision, directly across from Mason Road in Gerville. “Dr. Quinny bequeathed all this land and this property for public use. It’s a park, not a school. “
The Rentery School won two more bids for the property when St. Louis County Parks and Recreation called for bids in late 2019. The bid, unanimously approved by the county council, was originally scheduled for the April 2020 election but was rejected because of the plague.
Proposal D is the first test of the 2018 change in the district convention that requires voter approval for the use of the park lands for commercial purposes. Voters approved the change in response to failed efforts to build an ice skating rink and a St. Louis Blues training facility in the Cold Caribbean Lake Memorial Park.
Such a final arrangement took place just days before the 2018 election, when the county exchanged 60 acres of West Tyson Park near Eureka for developer Michael Roberts, a campaign contributor to former county manager Steve Stanger, who was later convicted as part of a pay-for-play program. .
Voters in St. Louis approved a similar charter amendment in 2007 after a storm over a plan by Barnes Jewish Hospital to lease part of the forest park.
Under the district charter, a for-profit company can offer a lease of public land for a period of up to 10 years, but nonprofits can offer longer bids, such as a 40-year contract from a school rent fund.
If voters approve the offer, the Raintree School plans to rent out its dining room and gym outside of school hours, with the proceeds transferred to the county. The Jarville House can also be open for park staff events and tours on weekday nights and weekends, Eidelman said.
Drop-off and pick-up times at the school are graded, Eidelman said, and two traffic studies have not shown a measurable impact on Mason Road.
Groups that support the proposal include the Missouri Alliance for Historic Preservation, the St. Louis Open Space Council, the St. Louis Audubon Company, the St. Louis County Advisory Board, the St. Louis County Historical Building Commission and St. Louis County Parks. Foundation.
The ballot question is the county council’s response to efforts last year to build an ice rink complex in Lake Karib Cold Memorial Park.
Entrepreneur Michael Roberts says he is not interested in canceling the deal, saying the county’s estimates were biased.
The Dog Club’s American Dog Museum, which has housed Quinny Park for nearly 30 years, is returning to its original home at AKC headquarters, officials said today.