City council and school board meet to discuss Washington Street right-of-way, crossing guards
The Cloverdale City Council and Cloverdale Unified School District Board of Trustees met in a joint meeting last week to discuss various issues that will be coming down the pipeline for both entities. While no issues were voted on during the meeting, direction was given to create and review a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the city and school district for a school resource officer and to put up stop signs at the intersection of North Cloverdale Boulevard and North Street.
Road extension near Thyme Square
One of the most contentious issues between the city and district arose during a discussion pertaining to the Thyme Square lot across from Washington School. The agenda item up for discussion was the extension of South Washington Street through to Healdsburg Avenue.
Before the city can extend the road, it needs approval of right-of-way from the school district as well as from the Cloverdale Citrus Fair.
“We know this is an important improvement that would support pedestrian movement, particularly of school children, to the school from primarily the south west area of the city, but overall also improve traffic movement in and around both the school, the Thyme Square property and Citrus Fair Drive,” City Manager David Kelley said.
The city is trying to work in the road extension alongside the Thyme property development.
Members of the school board questioned whether or not the district would have to contribute money to the extension of the road.
“At this point we are not asking the school district to contribute to the cost of any specific road improvements themselves,” Kelley said.
Kelley added that the council and board may want to entertain options surrounding storm drainage on the school site, noting that the Alexander Valley Healthcare development in Thyme Square will be conditioned with storm drain improvements in the Washington Street area.
“There is some opportunity for collaboration there and normally project developers, even if it’s school district, usually contribute for what they call the fair share of cost for project developers, even if it’s school district, usually contribute for what they call the fair share of cost for those types of improvements,” Kelley said.
Whether or not the district would have to contribute to the cost of storm drainage was called into question by Superintendent Jeremy Decker.
“The fair share is based on sizing. Right now, what the developers have designed is specific to their storm drain needs based on offsite flows of storm drainage. Usually when you add additional parties to that connection, there’s additional flows that are generated. Therefore, a bigger pipe is necessary,” Kelley said.
According to the district, the developers working on developing Washington School’s new gymnasium have on-site storm drainage worked into the site’s renovation.
“The district feels as though we’re not adding to the historical flow of water, in fact we’re reducing it,” Decker said, questioning why the district would have to pay to connect to additional storm drainage when it’s working on bettering its own on-site drainage.
City Engineer Mark Rincon said that the district may have to connect to the city’s drainage to account for any additional waterflow that may not be accommodated by the district’s on-site drainage.
Before the district OKs the right-of-way for Washington Street, Board of Trustees President Todd Lands said that he wants to have another workshop to discuss the project further.
District trustees brought up issues with having a skate park up against Washington Middle School.
“Another concern for us is having the skate park right there against the school,” Trustee Preston Addison said. “That’s a concern for us — the liability, attractive nuisance of having that right there.”
When the plan for the skate park was initially presented to the school board a few years ago, it outlined the park as being across the street from the middle school rather than next to it, Decker said.
One of the primary concerns with having the skate park in such close proximity to the school is the potential of having older skate park patrons trying to interact with middle school students during school hours. Kelley suggested the potential of the school district putting up fencing between Washington School and the skate park, or working eyesight barriers such as plants into the skate park’s design.
Stop signs and a school resource officer
The Cloverdale Police Department proposed adding stop signs to North Cloverdale Boulevard at North Street in place of its crossing guard program, which has positioned officers at two crosswalks on North Cloverdale Boulevard (one on North Street and another on Healdsburg Avenue) for the past 20 years.
The proposed stop signs would be placed in the southbound and northbound lanes at North Street and North Cloverdale Boulevard in place of the Cloverdale Police Department staffing people at the crosswalks.
For a number of years, the department has had difficulty staffing the crossing guards, sometimes having to utilize officers or sergeants to serve as crossing guards.
“My first thought was, if it’s a stop sign that’s creating this (disciplined driving) and motorists are being disciplined to do it, why aren’t we looking at the possibility of placing stops signs at this intersection to help alleviate the issue of the challenges of finding a crossing guard at this location,” Chief Jason Ferguson said, noting that he’s consistently seen disciplined drivers obeying the crossing guard stop signs while driving into town.
Decker said that after he spoke with the staff at Jefferson about putting in stop signs at the crosswalks, they said that they would still want to have a crossing guard there. For the district to staff the position by itself, it would cost around $3,900 for the year — a sizeable difference from the $18,000 that the district has contributed to help co-fund the crossing guard program with the police department.
In that case, the district-staffed crossing guards would work in conjunction with the new stop signs to help children cross the road. Ferguson said that after the city puts in the stop signs, the police department will have a visible presence in the area to make sure drivers are aware of a change in road conditions.
Ferguson said that when he initially met with Decker to discuss putting stop signs at that intersection, they also discussed trying to get a school resource officer at the schools as well.
With the savings from no longer paying half of the funds for the crossing guard program, the district may be able to rededicate the funds to paying for a school resource officer (the district would be responsible for half of the cost), Decker said.
Having a school resource officer at the district has come up at multiple school board meetings during public comment, and seems to be supported by both the Cloverdale Police Department and the district.
Before the district can enter into an agreement for a school resource officer, Ferguson has to provide a draft MOU to the district to be reviewed by both the city council and the school board.
The two additional stop signs will be put on the next Cloverdale City Council agenda, after which Public Works can order and install the signs.