A possible new Brookline school at Larz Anderson Park could result in construction happening on Boston property, which is drawing concern from two local neighborhood groups. But a Brookline official is saying that the park location is no longer a preferred site.
With an overcrowded school system, Brookline is considering several different locations for a new school, including at Larz Anderson Park. While the new school would be in Brookline, it would require a parking lot and a Brookline Department of Public Works building to be built on the Boston side of the park.
Andrea Howley, chair of the Jamaica Hills Association, and Kevin Moloney, chair of the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council, both sent letters to Brookline officials opposing the plan to build a school at the park, citing zoning concerns and the impact to the green space/environment and traffic congestion. The letters are also critical of Brookline for not informing the JP community earlier about the plan.
“Our neighborhood is one of the most progressive and politically active districts in the City of Boston and it takes great pride in its history of active engagement in all civic affairs that impact the quality of life in our community and, in particular, as they relate to open green space,” Howley wrote. “In the future, we encourage the Town of Brookline municipal officials and deliberative bodies to communicate with your neighbors and government officials in the City of Boston in matters involving Larz Anderson Park.”
Neil Wishinsky, chair of the Brookline Board of Selectmen, said in an email that Brookline and Boston “have a long history of cooperation regarding projects on our common border.” He said that the town has been engaged in a “multi-year search” for a site for a new school to relieve “extreme overcrowding” in the school system. He said that the park site was one of several sites identified in October, each with “its own set of plusses and minuses.”
“The Larz Anderson site has quite a few challenges, some are cited in the letters,” he said. “We are actively seeking alternatives to the Larz site and are now focusing on two alternate sites, including a site adjacent to the Edith C. Baker School on Beverly Road in South Brookline. While the Larz site isn’t completely off the table, (in case other sites turn out not to be feasible) it is no longer one of our preferred sites. We expect to make a final decision in Fall 2016.”