Webster University crossing Lockwood is a big, unresolved issue for the proposed Eden master plan and the proposed Webster U master plan. The controversy began in December 2009, when a deal was announced for Webster U to buy 5.25 acres of Eden property - that includes the Luhr Library, White House and Wehrli Center - for $5.3 million. But 2 ½ years later, the deal is evidently still not done and Webster U hasn’t crossed Lockwood, despite this property being definitely included as part of Webster U’s proposed master plan.
A group of residents known as Residents FOR Webster Groves opposes it, arguing that if there’s ANY Webster U expansion across Lockwood, the entire Webster Groves community will be changed for the worse… forever!
But many in our community are smarter than to blindly accept such unsubstantiated negative conjecture and scare tactics. Instead, they believe that Webster University SHOULD cross Lockwood, backed by 5 credible, factual arguments:
History – Beginning in 1969, Webster U already crossed Lockwood when the joint Eden-Webster library was housed in the Luhr Library. This was Webster U’s main library for the next 34 YEARS, until 2003, when Webster U’s new Emerson Library opened. Based on researching archives, there wasn’t a single resident complaint reported for 34 years by the Webster-Kirkwood Times, The Journal, St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Webster Groves Historical Society concerning Webster U students crossing Lockwood, car traffic, parking and late night noise - powerful evidence that our entire community wasn’t changed for the worse then and, thus, it's a very credible predictor that it won’t change now.
Adaptability –Webster U listened to community input and dialed back original plans for the property: Luhr Library changed from a new science building to an IT Center; Wehrli Center changed from a presidential residence to the Alumni Affairs Office; and the White House is to be torn down to create greater green space.
Partnership – The 40 year + Webster-Eden Partnership enters a new era, with Eden providing the space for Webster U to expand and Webster U helping Eden sell underutilized land and buildings, a critical component of Eden’s proposed master plan and financial health.
Heritage – Positions Webster U for continued growth and expansion in its 2ndcentury beginning in 2015.
Legal – Webster U has a binding right of first refusal for any part of the Eden campus.
For these 5 credible, factual arguments, Webster U should cross Lockwood.