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Letter: Unconvinced by City’s Promises

To the Editor:

— Once upon a time, we had a wonderful block, full of everything including our own little park with picnic benches, a basketball court, a swimming pool, a parking lot that dead-ended into the park, keeping our children safe, and a recreation center that entertains many different venues. Now all that is going away, torn from the residents, torn from the community.

We were promised we would get a beautiful school, new parks, more parking — promises that were never meant to be kept.

A $44 million school, we are told, will bring achievement to its students who are now housed in the old Jefferson-Houston Elementary building. The City Government has sided with the superintendent and School Board. No one can predict that a new building will give better opportunities to our children, no one can promise this will improve the test scores or grades. What they can tell us is that we will have a new building and a new playfield open to the public. They will give us one new parking space for an already overcrowded block. They have now blocked our once beautiful little park, our basketball court. They are fencing the current school building; they are fencing our pool.

Where are the children to play during this construction? I was told in the front of the Olde Towne Pool. That is where the P.E. classes will hold their outdoor events, that is where the playground will be, that is where the children will play ball. Not much space there for all they tell us will be there for the next 1-and-a-half to 2 years as the school project moves forward. Soon parking will also be blocked off, which will leave the residents to fend for parking as they come and go through the day. These are the same residents who have to pay a yearly parking fee, pay property tax on their vehicles, pay very high property taxes on their homes, and who voted the current council team, mayor, vice mayor and School Board members into office.

We have been promised that when all is said and done it will be a wonderful block again. I don't see that. This block has been one of the safest blocks in the city. Now they will wrap a driveway around the swimming pool moving our park and basketball court so all that use them will have to worry about moving traffic 24/7. Some wanted to close the cut through that goes from Earl Street through to Cameron Street thinking this would prevent vehicles from driving where pedestrians also cut through. Think again, now the pedestrians and traffic will have to pass over two driveways and be even more cautious of moving traffic. Way to go city!

Beatrice Porter-Gruel

Alexandria