While Frog Hollow fights the medical facility sprawl and Parkville battles an attempt to construct another gas station, much of the West End had recently turned out to debate the expansion of a school. Despite arguments against it — complaints about traffic, zoning, and bus pollution, to Superintendent Kishimoto’s statement that this competition from CREC would hurt Hartford Public Schools — the West End Civic Association’s Executive Board voted to endorse the school proposal on Wednesday evening.
There are strings attached.
In a letter from David Barrett, the President of WECA, it is noted that the motion includes the following conditions:
•That CREC offer the neighborhood preference indefinitely for the Museum Academy and the University of Hartford Magnet School, and enroll 100 students at each school (200 total) from the West End.
•That CREC develop a landscaping plan that ensures parking areas are not visible from the street; the plan should provide for preservation of all specimen trees
•That the site will have no net increase in impervious surfaces
•That there be no environmental impact on near-by properties such as increased water run-off and no degradation of wetlands
•Underground fuel storage tanks would be prohibited to reduce the potential of contamination to wetlands, watercourses and groundwater resources, including the Park River
•That CREC develop a parking plan for events that ensures no parking on residential streets and use of existing institutional parking lots for parking, such as the Connecticut Historical Society and the UCONN School of Law
•That CREC guarantee no regularly scheduled athletic play activity at Elizabeth Park
•That CREC work with a WECA-appointed neighborhood oversight committee - all site plans would be reviewed by the committee prior to submission to the city and, if city approval occurs, periodic oversight meetings would be held with the school management team to discuss noise, traffic and any other issues of concern
•That the Hartford Preservation Alliance’s concerns about the site renovation be addressed by the architects for the project and that Hartford Preservation Alliance and the State Historic Preservation Office continue to closely supervise the project through development and construction
The expansion on the former Hartford College for Women site would increase the number of students from 270 to 435; there would also be an increase of 20 staff and four buses.
Reprinted with permission of Kerri Provost, author of the blog RealHartford.
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