KIRKWOOD, Mo. (KMOX) – After months of build-up that included angry objections from many nearby residents, long-gestating expansion plans for the Magic House were approved Thursday night with little fanfare.
Nearly all of those opponents skipped the final vote, but one of the most vocal of them did share her thoughts.
“The ordinance went through and I now have a parking lot in my back yard, as do four of my neighbors,” said Miriam Joseph. “We’re stuck with it.”
Joseph lives on Angenette Avenue, where the heart of the opposition to the plan sprang from.
The 38 new parking spaces approved as part of the plan will push right up against Angenette, but Joseph says it at least gives her some hope that this latest incursion will be the last.
“The only thing is maybe for the future, at least with this council, concerns about paving over our neighborhood any further (are alleviated),” she said. “There will be in the ordinance specific language that, while it doesn’t forbid future councils from allowing expansion, means for now they’re done at that location. There’s really nowhere else for them to go anyway.”
Magic House officials were all smiles after the unanimous vote by the council.
“This is going to improve safety at the Magic House, and it’s going to improve the parking situation that we have as well,” explained board member John Drexler. “We’re cognizant of the opposition in the neighborhood and our impact in the community, and we’re working hard to reach out and engage everyone.”
He said efforts are underway to raise the $500,000 needed to cover a walkway and another $250,000 to expand the parking lot, which is contingent on approval from the Metropolitan Sewer District.
That work could begin sometime in August, Drexler indicated.
He said the improvements will mean greater safety for the half-million visitors received at the Magic House each year, because fewer of them will have to park in the street and cross busy intersections to reach the museum.
But Joseph remains unconvinced that the newly-approved plan will alleviate all the problems that have long plagued her neighborhood.
“Despite what people think we’re still going to have street parking issues, because more people will be able to come to the Magic House and they’ll need a place to park,” she pointed out. “So you just make the best of the situation.”