Pelham Examiner

Pelham Examiner

Pelham Examiner

They supported new Hutch and new middle school. Now call on school board to allow reservoirs at Julianne’s Playground.

To the editor:

We are so lucky to live in Pelham! It’s why we’ve stayed long after our kids graduated from Pelham Memorial High School. It’s why we publicly supported building the new Hutchinson Elementary School and helped get bonds passed to build the new middle school and to renovate the high school. It’s why Chris served as Colonial PTA president, attended countless school board budgeting sessions and was part of the Junior League team that built the Sixth Street playground in 1998, later rededicated as Julianne’s Playground.

We are especially lucky to live in a town where incredibly bright and talented volunteers dedicate countless hours to serve on our school and village boards. Thank you!

And—right this moment—Pelham is lucky to have a timely opportunity to solve a problem that has vexed our community for decades and is only getting worse: flooding. The federal government is offering big bucks to help communities like ours solve flooding issues!

As luck would have it, the very best spot to locate the underground tanks that can solve the problem—at the topographically lowest point—happens to be an easily accessible area of blacktop and tennis courts. No need to tear down anyone’s homes and take them off the tax rolls. No need to touch the play area in Julianne’s Playground at all. Plus, once the tanks are buried, the courts can be restored and improved. The pumps—which run only rarely—can be attractively housed.

But there’s more luck. That area of blacktop and courts is currently owned by the school board, which has long had the burden of insuring and maintaining the property even though this does not fall within its mission of using our tax money wisely to provide our kids with great educations.

And the school board is lucky to have a generous offer on the table. The Village of Pelham has already offered $600,000 for the easement, plus $400,000 to build brand new tennis and pickleball courts. As any lawyer will tell you, an easement can be written to have the village take on the liability and upkeep costs—a win for both boards! This could be done quickly, allowing the village to score as much county, state and federal assistance as possible, before those funds run out.

Should the school board reserve that property for some yet-to-be imagined purpose in the future? Our feeling is that we are already lucky to have more separate school locations per capita than any district we can think of, so the chances of needing this property to build yet another one seems pretty remote.

Let’s not lose this limited-time opportunity to solve a clear and present problem at the lowest possible cost. With luck, all parties will act quickly and in the Pelham tradition of mutual generosity. Fingers crossed!

Chris and Tom Darbyshire

115 Loring Ave.

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  • D

    Dawn VetranoFeb 16, 2024 at 10:18 am

    Well said.