Friday, October 7, 2011

We are not alone.

At Monday's RCHCA meeting, someone said that only residents of Rock Creek Hills – but no one else! – would oppose construction of a middle school on the site of Rock Creek Hills Park.

In fact, we are not alone. Residents of other neighborhoods have gone on record stating that building a school on the site of the park would be bad for kids, and for taxpayers. Some particulars come to mind:
  1. Ms. Lynn Amano, Co-president of the Rosemary Hills Neighbors' Association, testified recently before the county Board of Education, expressing concerns about the park as a location for a school. Ms. Amano's September 13th testimony is available online.
  2. Ms. Donna Savage, Chair of the Coalition of Kensington Communities, representing over 5,000 homes in 9 communities, wrote to Council President Valerie Ervin, opposing the Board's plans to build a school on the site of the park. Ms. Savage's July 22nd letter is available online.
  3. Ms. Caren Madsen, Chair of Conservation Montgomery, wrote to Board President Christopher Barclay, mentioning the "many stakeholders that take advantage of [Rock Creek Hills Park] year round", and urging a meeting with the Planning Board to find an alternate site. Ms. Madsen's June 14th letter is available online.
  4. The Montgomery County Civic Federation resolved that "... parkland should not be treated as surplus or vacant property... " The Civic Federation's June 13th resolution is available online.
We are not alone. We've heard from plenty of folks, from outside Rock Creek Hills, concerned that:
  • The proposed middle school would not be of the same caliber as Westland, and in particular, would not be an International Baccalaureate school.
  • The proposed middle school would not have field space to accommodate multiple extracurricular sports at a time, as is possible at Westland.
  • The proposed middle school would have, given its location in the far eastern side of the cluster,  the potential to upend carefully calibrated efforts to integrate our cluster.
  • The proposed middle school would be unreasonably expensive.
  • The proposed middle school would destroy a widely-used park, including the fields used by the State Champion B-CC High School girls soccer team.
We are not alone. We've heard from many folks who agree that (in the words of a 1979 M-NCPPC memo):
"Because this site was acquired with public funds, and the outdoor recreational facilities (especially the ballfields) serve acute and irreplaceable needs in the area, the public should be permitted uninterrupted and perpetual use of the outdoor recreational facilities."

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