Over the past few days since the announcement that the Mystic Valley Regional Charter School (MVRCS) has entered into agreements to purchase 3 parcels in the heart of Maplewood Square with the noted intent to expand, scores of Maplewood residents have spontaneously expressed their outrage to us as well as on social media. That outrage has already given rise to a petition to stop the sale and to social media effort to organize against expansion of MVRCS.
As elected officials closely tied to the residents of Ward 6, we write to acknowledge residents anger and pledge to work to ensure the Maplewood residents will lead the effort to plan the future of Maplewood Square, not MVRCS. As Maplewood residents ourselves, we enjoy being able to dine, shop and meet with friends and neighbors in our neighborhood. The properties involved threaten to impact long-time main stay restaurants including Serena, Panda Castle and Patricks and our local pub Frannys. A school building that eliminates or saps their vitality will essentially make ¼ of Maplewood Square a dead zone at nights and weekends.
Residents already complain about the extra traffic congestion and parking mayhem generated during morning and afternoons around MVRCS. Obviously an expansion that would put another 300 students along with staff will further aggravate a bad situation when MVRCS turned what were walkable neighborhood schools into a regional destination.
MVRCS students have been major daytime users of Trafton Park, yet when an effort Councillors Camell and Winslow reached out to MVRCS leadership to participate in the planning of Trafton, no one from MVRCS participated. If MVRCS has funds to purchase land, they should be sure to include and build an outdoor play area for students as well to prevent overuse of the playground and field at Trafton.
MVRCS notes its core virtues include “the fundamental ideals of our American Culture, which are embodied in the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution.” MVRCS must not only teach those virtues, it must practice those, by ensuring the people who support this government-funded institution have input in its decisions. We as your local elected officials will be sure to strongly advocate for all residents of Maplewood to have input in the planning of Maplewood Square.
Councillor Stephen Winslow
School Committee Member Joseph Gray