Save the park, build charter school in another area

Save the park, build charter school in another area

I am writing in response to last week's letter in regard to tearing down Currier Park for yet another charter school in our town.

I, too, am a lifelong Cumberland (Valley Falls) resident and a proud parent of two children who attend B. F. Norton Elementary. I can say how amazing our own public school is and how my children have grown and excelled as both students and community members thanks to the nurture and guidance of our amazing teachers and staff that we are lucky to have.

I can appreciate the pride you feel in your own children's school and though I choose not to send my own to the charter school for personal reasons, I can respect your own decision to do so. What I cannot respect is this attitude that our town should just tear down valuable space, a park for teens, just to house yet another charter school a block down the road.

The charter school was developed for children of many towns, not just Cumberland. I recently read that two-thirds of BVP's students are not Cumberland residents. If this is the case, why can't BVP look into other areas for their next school? Perhaps the children who live in these other towns would feel proud to have their next school closer to where they live and in their own neighborhood.

Even if BVP would prefer to stay in Cumberland, we have so many other possibilities to build upon besides Currier Park. I find it comical that you say this park is not a place that you take your family, as you referred that your children are quite young (one not even in school yet).

Currier Park was developed for older children to go to play independently. It has basketball courts and skating facilities that are quite often used and not loitered on. If you ever did take the time to walk by there, you would see several games of basketball being played, by some really talented kids who have no other place to play (my nephew being one of them). You'd also see plenty of talented teens skating there as well. Where are these kids going to go if you tear down this park? I know that last year we had issues of B. F. Norton's playground being vandalized by teens. Children without an outlet for their physical and creative energy often resort to negative and risk taking behavior. I can't imagine how many more instances we would have like that if you tore down the one place for older children in that area to play.

Furthermore, when the mayor had proposed selling the park, the original intent was so that the land could be used for new small businesses, developing revenue and taxes for our town. Rumor has it that Cumberland was awarded a decent size grant to be used to further develop that park and maintain it as an outdoor space for all children in our town. I am a huge supporter for more parks, playgrounds and spaces for all of our children to enjoy. We have such a division that is already in existence in our town over charter schools vs. public schools. It would be wonderful to have more money put into spaces for everyone in our town to enjoy: a place for all kids to play and for all parents (charter or public) to come together, feel welcome, share ideas and develop more of a community bond.

We need this.

Rebecca Riley Sousa