New support for Councilor DaCosta's petition against school

New support for Councilor DaCosta's petition against school

CUMBERLAND - Town Council member Manuel DaCosta is calling on his fellow board members to oppose the rezoning of the Currier-Chace playground and is offering an online petition for residents to sign.

On Thursday, he picked up the support of the former Valley Falls district councilor of 10 years, Tony Nobrega.

Nobrega, who's generally an ally of Mayor Daniel McKee, said he is prompted to speak out for all traffic and parking reasons cited by others and because the first Blackstone Valley Prep school, next to St. Patrick's Church, is causing traffic jams twice a day.

The petition can be found at www.petitions24.com/save_currier_park . As of Sept. 6, 144 people had signed it.

DaCosta, who represents Valley Falls and, like Nobrega is generally supportive of McKee's initiatives, told The Breeze, he had hoped "to remain neutral" on this issue but said it was becoming increasingly clear that he must speak out against the plan.

"They are not just against it," he said of his constituents, "they are revolting against it."

The proposal was tabled last week but is expected before the Town Council on Sept. 4.

DaCosta says he wants to be clear: "I'm not against building a school."

He's opposed, he said, to building on the site of the Currier Playground. Losing the soccer yard, basketball court and skateboard facility, he said, will diminish the quality of life for Valley Falls and take away the area's only recreational facility.

He said those who've talked to him are mentioning not only the loss of the playground, but parking and traffic.

DaCosta is also questioning how this school can be located so close to three establishments selling liquor: Churrascaria Marques Grill, Lusitana Club and Knights of Columbus Hall.

"They tell me everything is fine," he said, "but we have ordinances in place."

Mayor Daniel McKee, meanwhile, isn't wavering. "This council has absolutely endorsed the idea of marketing the property," he said.

He said he hasn't asked councilors how they'll be voting on the charter school plan but restated his view that a playground "isn't the highest and best use of the property." He called the school "important to overall landscape down here on Broad Street," saying the street "is deteriorating" and "unless you make a positive move it's going to go down as opposed to going up."

He called the school a $15 million investment that coupled with the first, nearby charter school totals $20 million. This is a positive thing," said McKee.

Whether DaCosta's opposition will sink the school project was uncertain this week, but on matters of zoning like this, the Town Council has a strong history of honoring the opinion of the council member representing the district involved.

Also strongly opposed is this district's state representative, James McLaughlin.

The petition reads:

"The town is attempting to sell the open land, recreational space in the Valley Falls area, known as Currier Park (across from Town Hall), so that a (Blackstone) Valley Prep school can be build there in its place.

"This will cause the loss of this historical landmark, cause local residents countless problems with traffic, create an unsafe environment and deprive local children of a park where they can enjoy having fun and meet with their friends. Additionally, this is the only public park of this kind in Valley Falls where families can enjoy recreational activities and family quality time.

"I ask for your support. Let's preserve Currier Park for future generations of Cumberland children and families and pass on to them this legacy given to us by past residents of our great town.

"Please sign this petition if you do not approve of this sale and want to save the park."

- Marcia Green

Comments

This will be an absolute traffic nightmare. Where do I begin with the problems with this idea. Lets see, first the mayor wanted to carve up the Monestary Property for this school, then he wasted $400,000 of taxpayer money trying to build on a possible toxic waste site in Pawt. and now we're destroying open space to build a school with no parking. Then we have to buy more land $250,000, to replace the destroyed park. We'll collect absolutely nothing in taxes, even though this is why the Mayor originally proposed selling the property. By the way 2/3 of this school will benefit non-residents. Finally, the NY Corporation that's buying it wants it zoned for business so they can flip it for a handsome profit when the charter school fad fades or is no longer profitable.

Please show where there was ever a proposal to build a school in the Monastery. Note sure how he got his hands on 400,000 of TAX payers money with out an outcry...don't think these items pass the smell test. PS: read the ordinance if this were to pass it would be specific to a school.

If the main reasons for not going forward with the school are possible traffic woes and “future generations of Cumberland children” not being able to play in the park, then I vote for going forward with the school! Anyone who goes to work every day has to deal with traffic. I remember not long ago when you could cruise through the town on a Saturday morning and not see a car on the road. In Cumberland, those times are gone forever. Traffic is a symptom of prosperity. As far as our children having a “park” to play in…by my standards, parks have trees and grass. This “park” is somewhat close to the main road, with cement grounds, surrounded by chain link fences. And given its close proximity to the town line, I would guess that many of the “children” playing are not from Cumberland anyways. Furthermore, whenever I’ve ridden by, many of these “children” appear to be young adults, possibly in their late teens or early 20’s? This weak argument to stop the school almost sounds like it has more to do with a hidden political agenda against the Mayor. I’m not a McKee supporter, but, it seems that every time that the public schools ask for something, the reaction is immediate and forceful…almost like a union effort was driving its ultimate success!?! So, my point is this: If the school is successful at teaching, then it will end up being good for the town and its taxpayers and property owners. Don’t stop it for political reasons, especially if the public schools have been blindly supported by the same people that are rallying to block this one from being established. Favorable academic results should be the driving force to go forward, and the charter school has produced! (http://www.valleybreeze.com/2013-07-10/cumberland-lincoln-area/bv-prep-w...) I find it immoral and shameful that our children are used as political pawns, and that their educational experience is compromised due to misguided individuals trying to push their party’s agenda.

Here Here Mr. Stuck. Well stated. It's easy to take a couple of neighbors and start a false uprising; to make a political weakling seem strong. So he can cry "I am for da people" Cumberland doesn't encompass just three street around "the park."

This administration has, since Day #1 done everything in its power to take away and destroy 'Open Space' in our town, especially 'Open Space' obtained by others....starting with e destruction of the beautiful Ephrata House Property at the bottom of Manville Hill Road!

Since then we have seen the numerous attempts to infringe upon and destroy large parts of our Monastery property.

At present are attempts to use portions of the beautiful Franklin Farm Property, again 'Open Space' for other purposes.

What galls me, and I know others, are the games-man-ship that is being attempted with the Historic Currier Mansion Property Play Ground....again "Open Space"!

Most disgusting, as just revealed in today's Breeze, is the fact that the Town is going to bail-out, by buying a home, and the 3-lots it is located on, which was built smack dab in the middle of a known, very often flooded, flood plain zone along the Blackstone River.

And what does our esteemed Mayor McKee claim he wants to then do with this absolutely, useless, oft-flooded piece of property?

To quote Mayor McKee, cut and pasted right from the Valley breeze article, he states: " The property could satisfy the state demand for a replacement to the Currier-Chase Playground on Broad Street if the playground is sold for charter school construction. Or, it might also work as a community garden."

Do we need any more examples, or proof, as to our Mayor's values, goals, ideals when it comes to this Town's precious "Open Space'....more-so - 'Quality of Life Issues' - wherein he now wants to take away a precious, Historic Piece of Property, today meeting the needs of the youth of Valley Falls, and replace it with a piece of nothing short of swampland that we will hardly ever be able to be use.... as it will be under water more often then not!

BRILLIANT!!!!

Lets face it every time BVP wants to do something in this town it is bombarded with nay sayers! Everyone complains about the current school system, but there are many changes being implemented recently. The reason for many of these changes is BVP. BVP has been a model to learn from. Full day K, summer homework, Wed early release. Where do you think these changes came from...BVP! They have all been positive changes for the community. Of course every change has been met with countless arguments from parents in Cumberland school system. This building will be a model for future schools. It will give more children the opportunity to attend BVP too. You say this place is a park???? I challenge you to take your little ones there and enjoy and afternoon there. Come on! Most of you would not step foot within 10 feet of the place because you would feel quite intimidated by those who frequent the "park". When is the last time you brought your children to this park to play? BVP will provide a nice child friendly playground for all children to use after school hours. And the traffic PLEASE, drive by Garvin, BF, CHS and any other school in any town and you will guaranteed be met with traffic during pick up and drop off. The difference with BVP is we get to school earlier (probably before many of you have rolled out of bed) and we leave later. We have neighborhood bus stops. This means you will not be stuck behind a bus stopping every ten feet. Most of the stops are off the main road as well. Something else maybe other schools can take a lesson from. Neighborhood stops! Stop saying you don't want this school because you want to preserve the open space, because you want to enjoy the park. You all know you have not hung out at that park and you don't intend to. Let the school grow and flourish. We will all benefit!

I usually do not ever comment twice on a story, or the comments of others....my often chiding those that do!

However, like anything else there are exceptions to the rule!

I really am getting very upset at what I see are the 'Elitism' of far too many as it pertains to "BVP" and its 'Scholars'! (sic)

More-so the better then thou comments of some that the Currier 'Playground' is 'Infested' with children that are not from Cumberland!

EXCUSE ME~!

Is that because some of them have crossed "THE BLACKSTONE BORDER BRIDGE" and made friends with some of the youth of the Valley that come from the many Blue Collar families that comprise the area, are of an ethnic make-up not of some of the better-then-thou's choosing....or maybe that they speak a funny tongue?

Bottom line here I don't buy anything that the elitists, and especially McKee are espousing....especially as I stated in my comments further above.

It should be obvious to any and all, with half a brain, that the mayor is now trying to make an end run around the State's rules and regulations regarding the requirement that a similar, in nature, piece of land has to be made available should (hopefully not) the Historic Currier Mansion "Open Space' Playground be destroyed.

Lets go back almost 14-years when Mayor McKee decided to totally destroy the reputation of former Mayor Frank Gaschen, and one of the wonderful things Frank did when he acquired the Ephrata House Property for OPEN SPACE!

McKee immediately found a technicality to get out from under the rules governing Open Space and sold off a good chunk of that property to the Northern RI Collaborative....whom never did anything with it, eventually trying to sell it back to the town at a substantial profit. Something that probably would have happened until the uproar was such that it wound up back in the town's hands for about what we sold it for.

Still, McKee could not leave well enough alone and a senior housing was erected on a portion of the 20-some-odd acres!

OK, I can live with that....I have no choice.

However, there is still a very large chunk of that old Ephrata House Property sitting going to rot...., which has been the case since McKee became mayor.

Although McKee did say, on a number of occasions, that the remaining parcel could (will) be used some day for Educational Purposes.

I would say that that day has arrived.

I see absolutely no reason why, if another BVP (Mayoral Academy) building need be constructed....why it cannot be constructed at that location vs. destroying the only playground that exists in 'The Blue Collar' part of our town, even it is being used, to some extent, by an element that some appear to find undesirable!

More-so, replacing it with a lousy, stinking piece of Swampland Property in a well-known Flood-Zone?

If I wrong...feel free to tell me!

Tom Letourneau

Of course you are wrong. We are not entitled. We are proud. Proud of our school, proud of our scholars. No one said you can't call your child a scholar. No one said you can't enter your child into the lottery. OH but wait do you even have children? I've also never heard anyone say the playground was infested with children who are not from Cumberland. I did read something posted about children from other communities attending BVP. Is there something wrong with that?? No. There is isn't. People just need to stop hating on BVP and admit that the only reason they don't want a school there is because it is BVP.

Of course you are wrong. We are not entitled. We are proud. Proud of our school, proud of our scholars. No one said you can't call your child a scholar. No one said you can't enter your child into the lottery. OH but wait do you even have children? I've also never heard anyone say the playground was infested with children who are not from Cumberland. I did read something posted about children from other communities attending BVP. Is there something wrong with that?? No. There is isn't. People just need to stop hating on BVP and admit that the only reason they don't want a school there is because it is BVP.

Of course you are wrong. We are not entitled. We are proud. Proud of our school, proud of our scholars. No one said you can't call your child a scholar. No one said you can't enter your child into the lottery. OH but wait do you even have children? I've also never heard anyone say the playground was infested with children who are not from Cumberland. I did read something posted about children from other communities attending BVP. Is there something wrong with that?? No. There is isn't. People just need to stop hating on BVP and admit that the only reason they don't want a school there is because it is BVP.

I think it's time for the mayor to do the same as our Governor and go away. I've never voted for him, but suspected early on that he was out of touch. It was confirmed when he wrongly sent the police to infringe on anti-obama protestors 1st amendment rights. However, at the end of the day, he is a liberal - that will never change.

I think BVP has brought many good changes to the town. Great.

But, let's remember, BVP is a very small school. You have to literally win a lottery to attend BVP. So, even if you wanted to send your kids there, it's very likely that you would "lose" and be unable to. That is messed up.