News this week that the new McKinley School may likely be built on the site of what is now Hill Park on Park Ave. has one Revere resident and brother of the war hero it was named after hopping mad.
Tom Hill, 89, brother of Sgt. James J. Hill, for whom the park is named, is preparing to fight the proposed location for the new school.
In 1958, the park was named in honor of Sgt. James J. Hill (1924-1946), a veteran of World War 2 who fought with General Patton's Third Army, helped liberate several concentration camps, and attended to wounded American soldiers under heavy German gunfire, for which he was awarded the Bronze Star for heroic achievement.
The park and others like it is an important way to remember and honor local heroes for their sacrifices.
"Representative Billy (Reinstein) was a veteran, Senator Henry Dello Russo was a veteran, but they [city officials] don't care. Where's their history?" Hill commented regarding the School Building Committee's other plans to build on top of Dello Russo Stadium and Reinstein Park.
Dr. Paul Dakin, Superintendent of Revere Public Schools, was away at a conference this week and was unavailable for comment.
But on his Twitter account Tuesday, He wrote "Process of elimination is leading consultants to point toward Hill Park as the site of the new McKinley School."
Should the McKinley School occupy the area, Hill Park will be moved behind St. Mary of the Assumption Church at 670 Washington Ave., Hill said.
One problem with that scenario: the proposed land behind the church is 2.3 miles away, next door to the Malden city line.
"There are two parks in Chelsea that are closer than where they want the new park," Hill said.
He added: "Hill Park is a good area. This is the only park for people in this area. (It) covers everything from Bell Circle to the Chelsea city line."
A feasibility study revealed at a School Building Committee meeting in the City Hall Council Chamber early last month show that the new school complex will require a four-story building but no private property acquisitions.
But acquiring the park itself requires a lengthy permitting process through the National Park Service.
A Revere City Council resolution dated August 31, 1992, given to The Revere Advocate by Mr. Hill, states that the land for Hill Park and 14 other parks in the city, established with the Federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, be set aside for recreational and conservation use.
Furthermore, the land "shall be maintained as public outdoor recreation use in perpetuity, unless conversion to other use is approved by the Massachusetts Secretary of Environmental Affairs."
And since the park was previously funded with the Land and Water Conservation Fund, it is considered a protected open space area. As a result, sites that are converted because of neglect to the property or other municipal use, including school campuses, must be replaced with land of equal or greater value.
Following his Tuesday tweet, Dakin supplied a follow-up: "Ripple effect of the McKinley School project could result in two new tennis courts at RHS and an additional softball field at St. Mary's."
Another post stated: "Current site of Mckinley School is too small for the new school. the old school may be used for needed city and School Department Office Space."
But Hill doesn't buy it.
"(Dakin) doesn't mention the old Police Station, which is vacant. He doesn't mention the Point of Pines Fire Station, which is vacant. They've got plenty of spaces," Hill said.
Hill said that the School Building Committee will hold a meeting this Monday at 4:00 p.m. at Revere High School.
And the School Committee is holding a meeting Tuesday at 5:00 p.m. in the Revere High School’s Emmanuel M. Ferrante School Committee room at 101 School Street. The agenda includes a School Building Report for the McKinley School.
Hill said he plans to keep up the fight. "I'm not quitting, I'm telling you that."