Sunday, January 21, 2018

Like the Phoenix from the Flames

Yes, I know I've been uncharacteristically silent for some time.  And I am grateful to those of you who still bother to check in on the Twitter or the Facebook.  And here we are, nearly four years after the search began for a site for the new Waltham High School.  Back then, I had hoped that my oldest son, Jack, might be in the first graduating class from the new building.  Now, I realize that my younger son, Finn, will likely never have the opportunity to learn in it and will, instead, spend his high school years in a substandard building, without certified science laboratory space, with asbestos, without reliable wifi, with a football field that can't be accessed safely as a pedestrian, and entirely unable to support the Education Plan.

As the City Council, led by Council President Diane LeBlanc and Council Vice President Robert Logan have again and again ignored the advice of the architectural consulting firm with whom the city has worked for five years, SMMA, and have chose instead to recommend a variety of spaces that are unavailable or impossible to build on, I would like to offer the following.  These recommendations are based on an intensive tour of Waltham by me.  They are not based on any input from architectural consultants, who would know if the recommended site is buildable for the needs of the high school.  Additionally, like LeBlanc and Logan, I have not taken into consideration the more than 5000 Waltham Public School students.  Because really: what do they know?  Or deserve?

  1. Prospect Hill: I propose that we take Prospect Hill and flatten it and build a high school on it.  Who needs old growth forests, views of Boston, good facilities, a wonderful campsite when you can just pay extra taxpayer dollars to flatten the whole darned thing and build a high school on it.  Apologies in advance to my Monday night walking crew.
  2. Mount Feake Cemetery: With 85 acres, the dearly departed are surely taking up too much space that could be afforded to the living.  
  3. Takeover of Costco or BJ's: This was a one-warehouse store town before BJ's moved in.  We could have jousting or a price war or somesuch to see who survives.  The loser donates the land to the new high school.
  4. Lyman, Stonehurst, Gore: Really?!  Old dead white guys are so last millennium.  Just raze those lovely structures and the protected properties surrounding them and build up a new high school.
  5. Waltham Fields: This insanely popular community supported agriculture on Beaver Street is ripe for the picking (pardon the pun): who needs farmland when a high school can be built and completely and entirely forever and ever make traffic on Beaver Street unbearable (as well as positioning the high school far from the center of our fair city).
  6. The MBTA Commuter Rail Tracks: Surely the architects could come up with a sustainable and affordable solution along 25 vertical acres of land along the railroad tracks that run through the city.  Of note, we will need to house displaced vagrants living in lean-tos along the tracks.
  7. Weston: As an adjacent town with a lot of open land, we should be able to work out something.
  8. My backyard: As it happens, our tiny house is situated on nearly 1 acre of land.  As the education plan and new high school recommendation is written, it requires 25 acres.  I am very close with many of my neighbors and I am certain that I can convince them to donate their homes to the greater good.  Since I have ~1 acre, I only need about 25 neighbors.
  9. Pizzi Farms: Rick Pizzi is an all-around good guy who never says no when asked to make a donation.  So, let's just ask him to give us his business and land.  And we can build the high school there.  I have no idea where we will get ice cream or subs, however, we will have the building.
As a citizen of Waltham, I demand that these recommendations are given as much debate as the ludicrous idea of siting the high school on Veterans' Field and Chesterbrook Woods were.  

If you are interested in a cogent and reasoned argument, the best one comes from Michael Barnett, and you can read it here.  

If you haven't been paying attention (like most of our city Councillors) for the last three years, the education plan is here.

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