During the citizen comment period at the Tuesday, June 18, 2013, Arlington Public Schools School Board Meeting I made the following statement encouraging APS to allow community use of the Wilson School playing field:
TO: Arlington Public Schools School Board - June 18, 2013
From: Paul Derby
Subject: Maintenance and use of Wilson School
In 2002 I met with Superintendent Dr. Robert Smith and Mr. Clarence Stukes to discuss the Wilson School situation from the perspective of the North Rosslyn community. We discussed a number of talking points, three of which are highlighted in italics and remain as unsolved issues in our community.
- No apparent maintenance or facilities personnel are present at Wilson School. Fences have been in poor repair for 2 years. Outdoor lighting is non-operational most of the time and has to be reported by citizens, paint and exterior of buildings need attention.
- The neighborhood suffered a severe loss of recreational facilities when the trailers were erected. Prior to the trailers, the field was used frequently as a neighborhood soccer and exercise field. Lack of a place for the neighborhood to gather and play lowers the quality of life for North Rosslyn residents.
- The run down condition of the original school building and … the poorly maintained grounds and landscape negatively affect the quality of the neighborhood.
I and a number of my North Rosslyn neighbors have recently written the school board asking that you support the community's request to complete the restoration of the playing field behind the Wilson School building. For many years the field was used by the neighborhood for recreation, especially soccer. Starting around 1997, for 16 years, the field was used to park trailers used as temporary classrooms while schools in other neighborhoods were modernized or replaced. Now that the trailers have been removed our community wishes to regain immediate use of the field while a multi-year planning process takes place for the future use of this site. Our community's need for this recreational space is even more acute with the residential density of our neighborhood continuing to substantially increase.
The Rosslyn Business Improvement District has offered to purchase, maintain and store soccer nets on the field. The remaining restoration work is minimal. This work along with the removal of noxious weeds now over 5 foot high in the play area and maintenance of the playing field need to take place until the long term use of the Wilson School property is determined.
Our community would deeply appreciate the support of Arlington Public Schools in supporting this community request.