Battle over St. James' sidewalk ends as council votes to keep it closed during operational hours
The Orlando City Council will allow St. James Cathedral School to close the sidewalk bisecting its downtown campus during operational hours.
The issue can be taken up again next July if either the school or community members want to appeal the council’s decision.
After hearing two hours of resident and St. James Cathedral School parent comments Monday, the council decided to vote to keep the sidewalk closed during school hours.
The sidewalk will remain open to the public outside of the hours of 12 a.m. and 8 p.m. on weekdays, and all day on weekends, school holidays and during summer break.
Commissioner Regina Hill said with rising incidents of school shootings, it’s a no-brainer to keep strangers off the campus when kids are present.
“I think it’s really petty that we’re fighting here about a sidewalk," said Hill. "You know people over in the Parramore area are fighting for a meal to eat.”
Commissioner Tony Ortiz echoed Hill's sentiments.
“I'm not going to put my neck out on this one, see a catastrophe happening and then coming back and saying we could have avoided that," said Ortiz. "You guys think that this doesn't happen? It only takes a few seconds for something like this to happen. Please think about this.”
The council also voted to require the Lake Eola neighborhood association and school to meet on a monthly basis in order to improve relations between both.