Friday, March 13, 2015

Chandler Magnet field to parking?

Let me preface this by saying that I am going to be more neutral in my language in this post than I actually feel. As this will (probably) come to the School Committee floor for deliberation, I need to be careful about not pre-deliberating outside of a posted, public forum.

Though nothing official has yet been posted or discussed in a public forum, the city is requesting that the Worcester School Committee declare as surplus the field behind Chandler Magnet School. For those not familiar with the area, this field is at the end of Moore and Ashmore Streets, which are off of Pleasant; it also is accessible from the back of Chandler Magnet School. The field is about 15 acres.

The proposal is that the land would then become a Worcester State parking lot, either by the city leasing the land or selling the land to a developer. It would be about 800 parking spaces.

In return, the school would get a playground, and both Chandler Magnet and May Street Schools would be granted parking on Worcester State properties (respectively adjoining their schools).

Relatedly, Worcester State would install turf on the back field at Rockwood Field playground (behind the Jesse Burkett fields), and this would be for park and school use during non-Worcester State times.

A few things to note:
  • while the Worcester School Committee was briefed in small (and yes, non-quorum) groups, this was presented as a deal worked out without consultation with us.
  • this will come down to a vote of the Worcester School Committee
  • the declaration of surplus requires a vote of a majority (updated per 30Bof the full committee. As Ms. Ramirez works for Worcester State and thus has a conflict, she will not, as I understand it, be able to vote. It will take four votes (a simple majority) to dispose of the property.
Should you have questions, send them along.
And the best people to weigh in with on this right now is the Worcester School Committee. It's our decision. I would also recommend weighing with Councilor Gary Rosen, who is the district councelor for this neighborhood. You can find our and Councilor Rosen's contact information to the right. You may also be interested in Nicole's post and in this petition.

The above is taken directly from my notes from the meeting I was in with the City Manager, Mayor, and Superintendent on Thursday, February 5 at 4:30.
I should also point out that Chandler Magnet has a student body that is (as of our October 1 count) 88.1% low income, 71% Latino, and 63% ELL. 

1 comment:

Mardi Coleman said...

There is no capacity at Rockwood to meet the needs of the many teams that use the Chandler Magnet field. Further, the proposed lot will only add to the neighborhood parking and traffic congestion. The entrance to the parking lot has 600 cars driving directly under the school windows, exposing children to high levels of vehicle emissions, and to continued noise and distractions throughout the school day. Tracy, thank you for this post.