Posts for:  February 2012

PTA outlines concerns about garage plan

Greater Annapolis Patch reported on the PTA’s testimony at the AACPS Board of Education meeting:

PTA: Parking Garage Would Create ‘Prison Yard’ Effect

When Sarah Williamson spoke to the Anne Arundel County Board of Education Wednesday afternoon she made it clear the Annapolis Elementary School Parent-Teacher Association is concerned with more than just the fate of the playground.

Speaking on behalf of the PTA, Williamson laid out a lengthy list of concerns involving the city’s proposition to build a parking garage along Compromise Street near the school. They all involved the safety and health of the students.

The garage would be built at the same time as an upcoming renovation and expansion of the school.

Wednesday’s board meeting was the first time the two groups officially talked about the possibility. They are now working on a memorandum of understanding to move forward with planning the garage.

But if the PTA had its way, the project wouldn’t progress past this point. And here’s a look at some of the concerns Williamson mapped out during the meeting:

  • “The construction of a garage would create what I see as a ‘prison yard’ effect with an even smaller play space confined on at least three, if not four sides, by structures blocking out the sun and breeze.”

    She said moving the playground closer to the school would further limit the already small open area where the students play kickball and tag.

  • “The negative health effects of car and truck exhaust are widely known, with ozone and particulates from cars increasing the incidence of asthma, chronic bronchitis, lung cancer and even susceptibility to the common cold, and hence, student absences.”

    She said having a garage so close would increase the students’ exposure by attracting more vehicles to the area, and even talked about the potential impact of cold versus warm catalytic converters.

  • “Because of our urban setting, school staff already have to periodically wake sleeping vagrants up and ask them to leave the playground or school grounds, or clean up alcohol bottles or drug paraphernalia from the ground before the children can come outside.”

    She said the garage would prevent the play area from being seen from the street and encourage use of the area as a nighttime hangout.

  • “It could also hinder students and staff exiting the school property in an emergency.”

“The city’s proposal does nothing to enhance the educational opportunities and learning environment at Annapolis Elementary School, and in fact, we feel it threatens the very same.”

The full text of this article is available at:

City, School Board Discuss Compromise Street Garage

Greater Annapolis reports:

Officials from from Annapolis and the Anne Arundel County School Board are going to continue talking about the possibility of building of parking garage near Annapolis Elementary School.

But the project is just short of an official memorandum of understanding between the city and the school system that would allow the project to officially move forward.

The city wants to build a parking garage along Compromise Street partially where the public playground and a portion of the school’s play area currently stand.

The project quickly met with opposition from parents and residents who started a petition against the garage and to keep the playground as part of any project that proceeds.

City officials are hoping to cooperate with the school board and build the garage in conjunction with an upcoming renovation and expansion of the school.

The school board did not sign a memorandum, but instead agreed to continue to have staff members work with city officials.

Board President Patricia Nalley, along with several other members, said the students are their foremost concern—especially their safety.

The full text of the article is available here:

Playground deed may complicate garage plan

The Annapolis Capital reported that “A property deed written more than 100 years ago could throw a wrench into city plans to partner with Anne Arundel County schools and a private developer on a parking garage project downtown.”

This deed, recorded on June 25, 1901, speaks to the use of the Newman Street property as a playground. The Capital has transcribed a portion of the document: “And whereas it was expressly understood and agreed as is specifically set forth in this petition to the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County whereon the aforesaid order of April 30 was passed, and is also specifically set out in the Trustee’s Report of Sale aforesaid that the said property should be held by the parties of the second part and their successors in truth as a playground for the white children of the public schools of said City of Annapolis and to and for no other use whatsoever and not to be held by the school commissioners of Anne Arundel County as a part of the public school property of the said county in anyway whatsoever now therefore in consideration of the premises and of the payments of the purchase money aforesaid the said party of the first part doth by these present grant and convey unto the said parties of the second part and their successors … ”

The full text of this article is available at: