Reminder! There is a meeting scheduled tonight 5-7PM at Parkside Middle to express your concerns.
There was an article in today’s Union Leader about it. See below.
According to the article, you will be able to speak for 3 minutes or write your concerns on cards provided and they will be read out.
For me, the types of questions I have, are:
Why was the standard City procedure of requesting an RFP not followed? Under what basis of law was this exception made to sell public parkland to a private entity?
The letters submitted in support of selling the public land were solely submitted by state actors or people involved in the project (conflict of interest?) and simply state the park is “surplus” and “not in use” without any substantiating evidence. We all know the opposite is true and the park is, in fact, a robust community garden. How can you use these letters in support of your actions when all of us can see with our very own eyes it is a lie?
What other sites were considered? Where, in relation to these sites, do the sitting aldermen and people involved with the project live?
How many children on the West Side currently attend the Boys & Girls Club on the East Side? How many neighbors and gardeners will be affected by changing this park into a giant building?
What is the distance between the proposed site and the current Boys & Girls Club? How long does it take to drive or walk there?
Is it true that one of the reasons the destruction of the park is being proposed is because there is a bus driver shortage?
Do the nonprofits being proposed for this site have any data on how much crime increases and property prices drop when they open up in a neighborhood? If not, why not? This seems important to assessing all aspects of impact to an area, not simply measuring the criteria you want and ignoring the data you don’t want to consider.
Please provide substantiating data for claims of “extreme poverty” on the West Side.
Will this property be tax-free? If so, the costs will eventually be downshifted to the neighbors living there. So you are asking neighbors to lose green space in return for higher crime and higher property taxes, is this correct?
Can you explain all the funding sources for this project? Initially, it was claimed that all the funding was private. Since then, it has been exposed that there is both private and public funds being used, including federal grants. Can you shed light on this public/private funding. Can you shed light on the ARP grants (and where we can get copies). Can you breakdown where the “$17 million” is coming from?
Who was the “generous donor” for the under-market, unaudited sales price of $600,000 for the “property sale”?
According to its website, Amoskeag Health provides transgender affirmation services and chemical abortions. What will parental rights be like at this clinic next to a school that is being included in something called “wrap around services”? What is “wrap around services” and what grants relate to this?
What does “consent of the governed” mean to you?
I understand these questions make me seem like a curmudgeon, but they are important in order for us all to make an informed decision, taking into account ALL NECESSARY DATA, not just the cherry-picked data from one side of the equation.
In the end, the City has NOT acted ethically, and while I don’t want to bad mouth the private interests promoting this, they are now willfully associating with what can only be described as a “shady deal.”
The Stebbins family now has a choice to act with integrity and return to the drawing board. They can choose to follow standard procedures like informing the people who live in the neighborhood and the gardeners who use the community garden beforehand, and follow a standard RFP procedure, or they can choose to side with the City and railroad the community that lives here, and then let the chips fall where they may.