The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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August 8, 2012

CHS student parking issue brings residents to city meeting

CLINTON — The Rules and Regulations Committee on Tuesday heard from more residents who are upset about parking near Clinton High School.

Several residents as well as school officials attended the meeting to share their piece on the matter.

Barbara Anderson, one of the residents who originally complained about the parking, repeated her thought that the problem is caused by the parking policy of CHS requiring students to purchase a parking permit.

“Why are we here discussing a problem that could easily be solved by the school board not charging our children to park in the parking lot we've already paid for?” resident Ric O'Leary asked.

CHS principal Karinne Tharaldson Jones explained the parking permit system was in place long before the recent parking issues.

“It has been for years, 20-plus years that we have charged for parking at Clinton High School. The issue in the past two years had been the construction,” Tharaldson Jones said. “There has been no change in charging for parking.”

Many of the empty spots observed by upset residents are used for construction workers, cooks, custodial staff and visitors, she explained. The 10- to 15-percent daily absence rate could also be cause for empty spots. All of the spots sell out, according to Tharaldson Jones.

One of the solutions proposed by the committee was instituting a parking permit system for residents similar to the one implemented to solve the parking issue near Ashford. Residents would receive permits and would be able to obtain two for visitors. This solution was met with dissatisfaction from residents.

Superintendent Deb Olson also attended the meeting. She pointed out driving permits allow 14- and 15-year-olds to drive to school. Where students park, she said, is not a decision made by the school.

 “It’s their choice to park there,” Olson said.

“Well then take that choice away,” O’Leary said. “They are students at our school...it seems to me you ought to have some say about where those children park because they belong to your school system.”

“They belong to my school system, but they also belong to this community,” Olson said.

Committee member Julie Allesee suggested because the construction that could be causing the problem has ended, the committee should wait to make any further action in order to see if the problem is resolved.

The committee moved to have the Traffic Study Commission evaluate the CHS situation, in addition to a new parking problem near 27th Avenue North and Eagle Heights. They will revisit the matter in November after school has been in session for three months.

In other action the committee:

• Moved to continue reviewing proposed regulations for the RV park.

• Moved an amendment to the ordinance regarding the Library Board of Trustees forward to the Committee of the Whole.  The amendment will remove a section which designates the City Clerk as Board Treasurer.

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