Doercrest Manor resident needs to stick to the facts

By Mike Anthony

A Crestwood resident unhappy about Lindbergh Schools’ plans for Long Elementary School has every right to his opinion, but we believe he needs to stick to the facts.

Late last year, Lindbergh paid $850,000 to buy 4.684 acres adjacent to Long Elementary, 9021 Sappington Road.

Some residents of the Doercrest Manor subdivision, adjacent to the school, say that while they support the expansion and improvement of the school’s campus, they oppose the district’s traffic plan.

Lindbergh officials met twice with nearby residents and, based on residents’ comments, modified the plan.

District officials originally planned to extend Doercrest Drive to Long and install a gate for two-way traffic.

But the road was narrowed, and the gated extension now will be a one-way exit that five buses will use twice a day to access Eddie & Park Road.

The changes did not satisfy Doercrest Drive resident Frank Ruzicka, who continues to voice his displeasure with the district’s plans. Just last week, he made several outlandish statements regarding those plans to the Crestwood Board of Aldermen, contending the district “bullied and intimidated” its way through the approval process for its plans at Long.

As we understand the process, Lindbergh was required to obtain permits from the city of Crestwood, St. Louis County and the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District. We’d be hard-pressed to believe those entities could be “bullied” into approving demolition and construction permits.

Mr. Ruzicka further told aldermen that an attorney representing the district threatened the use of eminent domain when Lindbergh requested a lot consolidation for the site.

“When this issue came to you, they brought in a pinch hitter, John King, and he threatened us with eminent domain,” he said.

That’s not the case. In response to an alderman’s question about why no Lindbergh officials were present at the meeting, King said, “… The school district, as you know, doesn’t require the zoning. They have the power of eminent domain, and so we’re here for the consolidation, really, and that’s … why they’re not here …”

Beth Johnston, Lindbergh’s director of community relations, told the Call last week, “Lindbergh Schools would never consider using eminent domain toward its neighbors.”

To paraphrase Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Mr. Ruzicka is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.