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AHS rebuild draws complaints about parking, fields, pipes

On Monday, Jan. 14, 2019, at a Town Hall forum about rebuilding Arlington High School, Patricia Worden presented this statement:

ahs preferred design 62618

My question is: Why do you people think that parking is more important than children's’ athletics?

First, I should mention that our five children played on AHS athletic fields for years. One of my grandsons started playing there this year.

If we have a huge jar of water and try pouring it into a small pipe quickly -- what’s going to happen? It’s going to overflow, right?

So next time, get a bigger pipe. Now consider when the Mill Brook is highest after torrential rain and then as it reaches the culvert at the Department of Public Works, the culvert pipe is too small and the water overflows. It floods the DPW and its trucks, etc. So what is the solution that the BC [building committee] and DPW recommend? That is just to take over the AHS soccer field from the students and pave it over for DPW use. Don’t bother doing the work to provide the long-term solution of improving and enlarging the culvert –- taking the student field is a lot easier.

Likewise, structured parking as a long-term solution has not been properly considered -- it’s easier to just take more athletic areas from the students. The rear of AHS is about 20 feet below the level of Mass. Ave. So the AHS area behind CVS could accommodate two or three levels of structured parking. But, NO, the BC is not interested in that -- it’s easier just to take more athletic area from the students.

As the AHS campus is now, with its large front lawn, the student classrooms are sufficiently set back from Mass. Ave. that they can get away somewhat from the noise and air pollution of the avenue. The new plan pushes the student facilities out close to this noise and exhaust fumes. Students will not be able to get away from that unless they are in a completely sealed building. Maybe some town officials and some on the BC are hoping to make the new AHS building part of the so-called “street wall” -- essentially an “urban canyon” with negligible open space that they are planning to build all along Mass. Ave.

Finally, the rear of the AHS site, as mentioned, is 20 feet below Mass. Ave. and shielded from noise by the large front historic buildings. Traffic is minimal. It is very quiet and essentially an oasis of conditions that are perfect for student and community healthy athletics. Your plan to take land there and remove the basketball court and soccer field for town offices and DPW parking and to build a new roadway -- your plan will destroy all of that ideal situation. You will be changing an idyllic situation both front and rear of the high school to a site that is no longer environmentally attractive or safe.

Please just get on with fixing the culvert and with a better plan for AHS, which will NOT hurt our children AND ruin the site. 

This personal statement was published Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019, and moved to YourView, the site's place for extended opinion.

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