A former East St. Louis school property will soon be developed into a community park.
East St. Louis School District 189 recently sold a Ridge Avenue property to the East St. Louis Park District for $1. The King-Kennedy school complex used to sit there, but those buildings closed in 1996 and were later demolished.
The school district expects to save about $10,000 per year on expenses like grass cutting and liability insurance on the property, according to spokesperson Sydney Stigge-Kaufman.
Park District Director Irma Golliday said she’ll present a plan for the space to the park district’s board shortly.
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“I would like to start working on that park as soon as possible,” she said.
Golliday is also a member of the District 189 school board. She wasn’t present during the meeting when the board voted on the agreement with the park district but said she planned to abstain from voting.
Golliday said she’ll seek grant money to help pay for site improvements. No plans have been finalized yet, but Golliday said her wish list might include a pavilion and walking trail.
I would like to start working on that park as soon as possible.
Irma Golliday, East St. Louis Park District director
“It’s in a neighborhood where there is no obvious park in that area,” she said. “... It’s right in the middle of two vibrant schools.”
Dr. Katie Harper-Wright Elementary and Mason-Clark Middle schools are located near the property.
In addition to the sale of that land, District 189 also recently started the process of selling the former Miles Davis Elementary kindergarten center, which closed last year.
Kindergarteners moved to James Avant Elementary at the beginning of the 2016-17 school year. At the same time, the district also moved fifth-graders out of the elementary schools and into Mason-Clark or Lincoln middle schools.
District officials previously said those changes were due to low enrollment at the middles schools, which were at about 50 percent capacity.
Stigge-Kaufman said the school board voted July 18 to place Miles Davis School up for sale.
“We will obtain an appraisal, establish a minimum price and then post for sale,” she said in an email to the News-Democrat.