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Forest Park deal heads to Bd. of Aldermen


By Maria Hickey, KWMU

St. Louis, MO. – The Forest Park lease deal to Barnes-Jewish Hospital is on its way back to the Board of Alderman.

After much wrangling Comptroller Darlene Green voted in favor of the plan in the three-member Board of Estimate, along with Mayor Francis Slay. Alderman Jim Shrewsbury remains opposed.

But the comptroller would not vote in favor of the lease deal until the mayor voted for a plan to protect all parkland from future sales or leases.

Green says if that ordinance is not passed, she won't sign the BJC deal.

"Every piece of legislation we passed today at the Board of Estimate and Apportionment must be passed at the board of Alderman before BJC can expand in the city of St. Louis," Green said.

Mayor Slay says he voted for Green's proposal only to move the lease forward.

He says the deal to lease about nine acres of Forest Park to BJC for $2 million a year does not depend on an ordinance to protect parkland or Green's signature.

"There are no contingencies of the Board of Aldermen, and I want to make that very clear," Slay said in a press conference following the vote. "If the Board of Aldermen passes it the lease will go into place and will move forward."

The Board of Aldermen is expected to pass the lease deal next week.

That's several weeks ahead of the April 3 election where citizens will be asked whether their approval should be required to sell or lease parkland.