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Petitioners trying to get Forest Park/BJC deal on ballot

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The patch of land east of Kingshighway (photo from cwegreenspace.blogspot.com)

By Matt Sepic, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – A group trying to stop the city of St. Louis from leasing part of Forest Park to BJC Health Care wants to put the issue to voters.

The group "Citizens to Protect Forest Park" is trying to get a proposal on the November ballot that would require a public vote any time the city wants to sell or lease park land.

In May, the city planning commission OK'd a deal to let Barnes-Jewish Hospital expand onto a 12-acre piece of Forest Park east of Kingshighway.

The group's Carla Scissors-Cohen says city leaders are not listening to the public. "We feel like the only way to stop this and the only way to make sure that this doesn't happen again is to put the decision back to the voters," she added.

So far, the Board of Aldermen has not taken up the matter. The hospital already leases the land for an underground parking garage.

In a statement, Barnes says the new lease would add about $2 million a year to Forest Park's budget.

Programming note: You can hear more about this issue at 11 a.m. today (Monday) on KWMU's St. Louis on the Air.

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