The St. Peters Board of Aldermen has unanimously approved a resolution officially designating special parking spaces for Purple Heart recipients. The board approved the resolution at its Aug. 24 meeting.
Included in that 8-0 vote was Aldermen Michael Shea [Ward 3], who was roundly criticized by local veterans in June for using parking spaces set aside for Purple Heart recipients.
Aldermen Patrick Barclay [Ward 4] and Teri Violet [Ward 3] were the original sponsors of the resolution. Other aldermen and Mayor Len Pagano also became co-sponsors.
Last year, the board directed staff to designate three parking spaces – one near the west entrance of city hall, another near the entrance of the St. Peters City Centre Veterans Memorial and another near the entrance of the city’s Rec-Plex – for Purple Heart recipients. Two special spaces also were designated at the annual Celebrate St. Peters celebration last September at 370 Lakeside Park.
The pavement for each space is painted purple and also marked with a sign bearing the Purple Heart logo and the words “combat wounded.”
The resolution states that it “clears up any confusion” about the intended users of the spaces by “reserving these spaces exclusively for Purple Heart recipients as recognized by the United States military.”
Barclay said the board asked administrators to designate the spaces in May 2016 and didn’t anticipate an enforcement problem and didn’t pass an ordinance or resolution. Violet, who suggested designating the spaces, said the designations aren’t enforceable and were based on the honor system. An enforcement clause may require statewide legislation, city officials said
“What this resolution is doing is putting the pen and ink to paper to what we gave direction to last year to clarify what the intention was and what it will be from this point forward,” Barclay said.
Shea, a retired 21-year U.S. Army veteran with combat tours in Vietnam and southwest Asia during Desert Shield and Desert Storm, declined to comment publicly about parking the spaces. Nor did he make any public comment after the vote on Aug. 24.