History of Fort Hill, Part 2 (2008). Mural by: Loray McDuffie, Taylor Saintable, Edwin Perez-Clancy, Christine O'Connell, Julia Andreasson, Jorge Benitez, Divah Payne, Lucy Saintcyr, Laua Dedonato, Gregg Bernstein.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Laying the final leg of the triangle—Concerned Abutters and Neighbors

As UniversalHub alerted us, Rodney Singleton has published in the Highland Park Community Association Google Group the first concerted sally by "concerned abutters and neighbors" against Bridge Boston's attempt to establish its nascent K1-8 school on the grounds of the Sisters of Saint Margaret's convent.  As it turns out our two previous posts duplicate Mr. Singleton's posts of the same material.

Running to just over three pages, with about 1350 words and one picture, the Concerned Abutters and Neighbors respond to the Q&As from the sisters and from the school with their own Q&A, in only three concerns posed as questions and three sets of related guiding principles posed as answers.  What follows is our 400-word summary.

  • "What do we view as fundamental for any potential owner of St. Margaret’s Convent to expedite a mutually-amenable sale?"

    There are three principles: 

    First, the maintaining of "the current level of tranquility" that was part of the quid pro quo of the neighbors' agreement twenty years ago to the sisters' expansion and transition of St. Monica’s Nursing Home to the convent.

    Second, the Bridge Boston School does not provide a "'community-valued' contribution" to the neighborhood. It is holding a city-wide lottery on 8 March 2011; it will not be a neighborhood school.

    Third, the "purchaser must maintain a residential setting that respects the historical character of the neighborhood," not adversely impacting the historic Garrison House or the Olmsted-designed park at the High Fort.

  • "What do we believe to be the negative consequences of having the Bridge Boston Charter School housed at the Convent site?"

    As might be expected, the results of siting Bridge Boston School at the convent are a veritable yard sale of badness. (This is not surprising: see the fusillade of objections that formed the genesis of this blog, directed at Daryl Settles's proposed business venture at 85 Centre Street.)

    The Abutters and Neighbors claim ten current schools for the environs of Highland Park, though only three of them are sited within its boundaries (the Paige Academy and BPS's Hale and Timilty).

    The Nathan Hale school and the Timilty school already burden the neighborhood with much congestion from the many buses that serve their students.

    Adding bus trips will exacerbate the traffic congestion. Limited parking on the site will force spill-over parking to nearby streets. The site's frontage on Highland Street is ill-suited to accommodating the many bus trips the school will need.

    The precipitous ledge occupying much of the site is unsafe for children. The school administrators will necessarily want them to play at, and thus ruin, the Olmsted-designed park at the High Fort.

  • "What would we like to see happen to St. Margaret’s Convent?"
    Given "the central role the convent plays in the character of the neighborhood – the Society of St. Margaret has an obligation to include the neighborhood in its plans." To the contrary, the convent has completely ignored a proposal sent to it on 8 February for a Highland Park Resident Board of Transitional Oversight.

    The neighbors would rather see a library or research center, mixed-use condominiums, an independent- or assisted living-facility, a museum of African-America art, or an extension of the Museum of Fine Arts.

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