I'm writing to let you know about an issue that I found out about six weeks ago: the potential loss of the beautiful green space of Cricket Field.
This is a project that would impact all of Needham. The Needham School Committee has determined that if the Hillside School can't be rebuilt in its current location (because of access and environmental issues), then Cricket Field would be the best and most cost-effective spot to put the new school.
I am so upset about this I can hardly sleep at night.
The School Committee quietly pushed a pre-feasibility study through the initial vetting process along with Needham's Permanent Public Building Committee; they never asked for the input of the Park and Rec Department (Cricket is under the jurisdiction of Park and Rec, so the field would have to be wrested away from Park and Rec through a townwide vote), they never studied the impact to the neighborhood, (which is densely populated and on a major bus route), and they have convinced some of the Hillside community parents that if a new Hillside is built on Cricket they will be able to move there as a group and 'minimal redistricting' will occur. This solution is so crazy it just might happen. Nevermind that the Eliot district (where Cricket is located) already has an elementary school half a mile away.
Because this process has begun, it must go through Town Meeting and a townwide vote, even though four out of five selectmen do not support building Hillside on Cricket and even though they do not think the town would support this outcome and the $40-50 million override that this project would require. So that means we, as a town, must come out in large numbers and oppose tearing down this historic park in order to put a 95-car parking lot, and a 480-student school on this beautiful green space.
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