Last night, West Siders attended an informational meeting about a proposed new community center… that would rip out the community garden we’ve built, replace it with parking and a giant building the size of a football field, taking out the only green space in the area.
The mayor, alderman, consultants, architects, planners, etc. about 15-20 City operatives were there, including Senator Lou. Everyone else, mostly abutters who have finally been informed, about 40-50 of us, all appeared to be against the proposal.
From Manchester Ink Link, READ FULL ARTICLE:
“’I think we should stop and sit at the ‘If’ question, not the ‘when’ question,’ said neighborhood resident Carla Gericke. Mark Degrossiliers, a direct abutter to the proposed site, shared Gericke’s concerns. “It feels a little bit like the train has left the station, and we’re being asked to jump on as it goes down the railroad,” he said.”Manchester Ink Link
What the article fails to mention is:
1. The project is ongoing since last November but they only informed the abutters last week and scheduled ONE 1 hour session to discuss, used up 20 of those minutes talking at us, and then ended the session when they realized that other than the city operatives there, the 40+ neighbors and property owners weren’t happy.
2. They are claiming they want to “build a community center” BY RIPPING OUT THE WORK BUILT BY… THE… COMMUNITY… It’s pretty insulting!
3. They said “trust us,” after telling us it’s a done deal (it isn’t) and that “they don’t legally have to inform” abutters. As one of my neighbors, a direct abutter (I share one post/cnr) said; “What is legal is not the same as what is right.”
4. Several schools on the West Side are underutilized. Why not start there instead of destroying our green space and garden?
5. The property will be “tax free,” so they will downshift the tax burden ONTO THE SURROUNDING PROPERTY OWNERS WHO CATEGORICALLY SAY THEY DON’T WANT THIS.
6. Where is the money coming from? Other than a contribution by the Stebbins family, sounds like a lot of it is Federal Rescue Plan funds washed through non-profits which makes me wonder who pays when that dries up? (Us, the neighborhood residents.)
7. When you plan a “community center” in secret and then tell the literal people in that community who own the properties and pay the taxes that THEIR OPINION DOESN’T MATTER, you are NOT building “a community center.”
Next meeting is 7/19 at City Hall. More to come.