Current plans for building the new NEMT (Northeast Metro Tech in Wakefield, aka the “Voke”) call for blasting a huge swath of extremely hard bedrock out of a forested hilltop next to the existing school. I can say from personal experience what this might be like for abutters and near neighbors.
For an entire year, beginning September 2020, life in our Malden neighborhood was made miserable by developers who chose to build an enclave of expensive homes by reducing an 80-ft. rock outcropping in half. The location of this development is Maple Terrace/Hillside Park near Swain’s Pond in Melrose, near the Malden line.
Several times a week we’d hear the warning horn, then brace ourselves for the inevitable blast that would follow. Experiencing your house shaking is unnerving, to say nothing of possible damage.
We’ve had to close our windows during the loveliest weather and hottest summer days due to the loud incessant pounding into the remaining rock. This was accompanied day after day by the noise and vibration of large trucks hauling away the blasted stone. We had little say in this — despite the public process, the developer prevailed. It was imposed on us whether we liked it or not. Thus the pounding, scraping, and endless noise is ongoing even now, two and half years after it began, with two houses still to be built.
If the new Voke is built on the site of the forested hilltop, I’m afraid those living nearby will endure the same hardship. Their ordeal could be worse, because the area to be blasted for that project is larger than that near our home.
So I urge the planners of the new school to be thoughtful of those living in the area. Build on one of the two existing athletic fields next to the current school. Do what is typical in these cases: once the new school is built, raze the old school and create a new athletic field on that spot. Don’t lower the Voke’s neighbors’ quality of life by putting them through the misery of blasting.