Over fifty Gloucester residents gathered at Green Street Park on Sunday, April 7, to voice their concerns about the proposal that could transform the park’s acreage into the new site of the combined Veterans and East Gloucester elementary schools.
Those in attendance represented not only Green Street, but Dodge, Trask and other neighboring streets. Some of them came with their children, who made use of the park’s swings, monkey bars and spongy turf.
The gathering was organized by Caitlin Pszenny, Gloucester resident and Green Street Park abutter. Pszenny is also the creator of the Facebook group Keep Green Street Park a Green Space, which currently has over 130 members.
Residents were united in their opposition to the City doing away with “the last green space in the area.”
“This is our last space,” said one resident. “This is all we got.”
Clayton Kern lives on Green Street with his wife and is the father of a new baby. He mentioned that not only was the park itself under threat, but also the surrounding woodlands.
“I grew up building forts, having trees to climb on,” said Kern. “For kids in Gloucester, this is their only woods, literally.”
“This is the last remaining forest in downtown Gloucester. How could a city that cares about its children think of destroying it?” he told this reporter. “When will we say enough is enough?”
Another resident said that children are bullied for being “indoor kids”, and that removing the park would leave them even fewer places to enjoy the outdoors.
Residents also wouldn’t hear of a school being built on the site, citing traffic concerns and general congestion in an already densely populated area. Of all of the locations the City is currently considering for the combined school, the Green Street and Schoolhouse Road site has the highest concentration of residents.
Pszenny is organizing residents to resist any action on the part of the City that would remove access to Green Street Park. Currently, she is mobilizing a group of park abutters and other neighbors to convene at the next School Committee meeting on Wednesday, April 10, to make their voices heard. All concerned residents are invited to attend.
“We need to show our faces,” said Pszenny. “They need to know who we are and that we don’t want this.”