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Residents Draft Petition to Save Greenacres School

greenacreschoolWhen neighbors learned that Greenacres School could be torn down and replaced with a larger building on Greenacres Field they were alarmed for many reasons.

Why? Greenacres is the oldest school in Scarsdale and some residents want to preserve a piece of history. The field is the only remaining play space in Greenacres, after George Field was converted into a retention pond to alleviate flooding, and people who live around the field value the open expanse of green.

A group of concerned residents joined together to draft a petition and it now has 270 signatures. Here is a comment from Greenacres resident Meredith Gantcher --and find the text of the petition below:

From Meredith Gantcher:greeacrestoday

"Seven years ago our family moved from the Upper West Side to Scarsdale. We specifically limited our search to Greenacres because I fell in love with the tree-lined streets with classic Tudors and brick center hall Colonials, the intimacy of the neighborhood, and the idyllic public school. Most of all, I loved Greenacres field and playground because it was filled with families weekends and weekdays and had the vitality of a city park, but the beauty and open space of the suburbs.

On April 20th I attended the Board of Ed meeting in order to hear KD&G's report on their feasibility study for Greenacres School because I had heard rumors that one of the plans was to demolish the existing school and build a new one on the field. After hearing the presentation by KD&G and learning that the Board was seriously considering "Option C," to tear down Greenacres school and build a huge school complex with a "High School size gym to serve the entire Scarsdale community", I met with a group of 6 other neighbors who were equally shocked that the Board could actually propose destroying Greenacres Field – the heart and soul of our neighborhood. We quickly drafted a petition and began circulating the petition last Thursday and to date we have 270 signatures representing 200 distinct households in Greenacres, or approximately 20% of GA households.

Our goal is to send a loud message to the Board of Ed that while we are willing partners in enhancing our school and ensuring that our children receive the best education a public school can offer, we must be equally committed to preserving the unique character of our community."

Here is a copy of the petition:

Keep The Green In Greenacres

To: Scarsdale Board of Education and Greenacres Building Committee
I have reviewed the proposed plans for the Greenacres School presented by KG&D at the April 20, 2015 Scarsdale School Board Meeting. As a resident of Greenacres, I URGE the Board and Building Committee to eliminate "Option C," which involves demolishing the existing historic Greenacres School and destroying the Greenacres Field - the heart and soul of our community.

The Greenacres Field, which defines our neighborhood, functions as a village green in the most traditional sense; the field is our "town center," a beautiful, open green space that is filled with residents of our neighborhood weekdays and weekends; a place where toddlers, teens, parents and caregivers all meet and congregate.

I strongly object to pursuing "Option C" because this plan would:

• Eliminate the only large contiguous green space in Greenacres, making our neighborhood the ONLY neighborhood in Scarsdale without a large open field;

• Significantly reduce the overall green space in our already densely built neighborhood;

• Eliminate the black top (built with funds donated by Greenacres residents) that serves as a gathering point for the entire neighborhood, where children learn to ride their bicycles and teens play basketball;

• Significantly reduce the playground space for our youngest students and children. "Option C" would eliminate a separate playground and blacktop like the one currently used by K and 1st grade classes behind the existing school;

• Negatively impact community celebrations (such as the Annual Fourth of July celebration, Back to School Picnic and Greenacres Carnival);

• Ruin the aesthetic of our neighborhood by creating a High School- sized gym and two large parking lots.

Beyond altering the very character of our neighborhood via the destruction of the Greenacres Field, such a plan would also fail to solve the "Huntington Avenue problem," as children would still need to cross the street to reach a playing field. Moreover, the inclusion of a large High School-sized gym to serve "the entire Scarsdale community" would massively increase the traffic flow in our otherwise quiet streets.

As a member of this neighborhood, I am dedicated to improving our school and community. However, I am convinced that the demolition of the Greenacres School and resulting destruction of the Field is not the best solution. I forcefully urge the Board and Committee to focus on alternatives based on renovating, updating, and/or expanding the existing school. These approaches will be far less disruptive and damaging to the neighborhood and allow Greenacres to remain a vibrant community for the next 100 years.

If you wish to sign the petition, click here to access it.

GreenacresOPTIONC-1

Comments   

-6 #14 Jeff Blatt 2015-05-21 18:47
We're exploring options, people. And frankly, one benefit of tearing down the existing school and building a new one across the street is that kids could continue to attend the current school while the new one is built, as opposed to the possibility of having unsightly, makeshift temporary classrooms constructed on the field while the current school is extensively renovated. I don't know what the right answer is, but I want to hear more. There's no need to end dialog before it begins, and to launch into hysteria and theatrics in the top of the first inning of this discussion.
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0 #13 Yet Another GA Resident 2015-05-19 22:23
Folks suggesting redistricting clearly are not the ones who would be forced to go to other schools -- "the boat is crowded, let's just push the people on the edge overboard!" We all chose Greenacres, even if not all of us happen to live across the street.

The 'redistrict' folks also seem to ignore the fact that, objectively, a brand new facility would be good for the kids, not just ours but ones decades from now (and there'd still be green space, just in a different place). We are all biased, of course, but we can be less self-interested .
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+14 #12 History Lesson 2015-05-16 19:17
Facts first doesn't understand how these things work. Talk to the residents living next to McMansions - I am sure when they thought the BAR would be looking out for the best interest of the entire community, not so.

The GA community needs to let the BOE know early the issues and concerns so that can guide the next phase. Is there a way to change the design of a potential new school to keep more of the playground, green space and ashpalt together? It could be a design flaw, but waiting until it gets to a point of no return is not the right strategy.
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+16 #11 Heathcote resident 2015-05-15 21:17
Good luck to to Greenacres...an d speaking of Scarsdale messes here is an example..just pass by five corners and feast your eyes on our newly built "eye sore " .. No one listened to the residents of Heathcote on not to build that monstrosity .
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+1 #10 How about the facts first? 2015-05-15 11:09
How does vague advocacy for "green" make sense without knowledge of the full range of options and costs/benefits? There's been 1 preliminary presentation. In the absence of the the more specifics about the value choices, isn't it rather premature for posting plastic lawn signs about "keeping Greenacres green"? Not a very "green" protest medium, btw.
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+2 #9 Playground user 2015-05-14 20:23
From what I see in the plan, we aren't really eliminating any green space. We are just moving it. That argument just doesn't hold water.
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-4 #8 Pragmatist Mom 2015-05-14 18:58
The existing school, while charming from the exterior, has mold, asbestos and failing plumbing. A few years ago the kids had to go outside to porta potties while the sewage lines were fixed. One option is to send the east side of Post Rd to other schools and downsize the proposed building. This would reduce the student population about 10 percent. However, it may be economically prohibitive to renovate the existing building - not to mention the disruption caused when the 400 students overcrowd the remaining elementary schools during construction. It is wrong for the Greenacres school to be so deficient in infrastructure in comparison to the other schools. We all pay the same tax rate and our school should not be sub par. I hope this project starts soon so that some of the younger kids in the neighborhood can benefit.
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+4 #7 Another GA resident 2015-05-14 17:18
The kids need a place to play soccer and enjoy some time on grass more than a new building. If they need more space, then redistrict some kids from GA to Heathcote and Heathcote to Quaker Ridge which as significant extra space (thanks school board). The Huntington field is the only green space left in Greenacres and it's packed in the spring, summer and fall.
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+18 #6 Concerned Greenacres Resident 2015-05-14 07:35
Scarsdale tears down everything. It's become one big construction site resulting in so much noise and mess. Houses get torn down only to be left with messy open lots for sometimes over a year before new construction starts. It's gotten gross.
All to help some construction contractor friend. Now somebody who probably will get a big contract worth millions decided what's best for them, not us, to tear down the Greenacres school. Don't count on the the Scarsdale Preservation Committee, they are a joke and all for tearing down the whole village if necessary. If this ridiculous idea to tear down the school is to be stopped, it has to come from the residents to put pressure on this pathetic committee.

Quoting Greenacres Resident:
Scarsdale will not allow teardowns of houses that are a 100 years old. Why make an exception for the school.

Why is there a need for more parking?

Can just enlarge the school, put an extension on stilts over the road.

Spare the field!!!

If the field goes, unfortunately I will be forced to go too.
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-22 #5 Greenacres Tom 2015-05-13 12:51
Here's an idea we should consider -- redistricting. If we re-districted our elementary kids to Heathcote, Fox Meadow, and Quaker Ridge, we could tear down the existing school for more open space and keep our fields. That's having our cake and eating it too -- and it will be a lot cheaper to do a little add on to the other schools, if needed, than to reconstruct Greenacres on the present site and it will be a lot less disruptive.
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