Rodgers Forge Community Members Protest Plan to Destroy Old Trees for New Parking Lot
Updated: Tuesday, July 8 2014, 09:00 PM EDT
Community members from Rodgers Forge say they are outraged over plans to destroy dozens of trees as part of a renovation project for Dumbarton Middle School.
School officials say they plan to spend $27 million to completely remodel the interior of the school and add a parking lot. But community members protested the exterior plans over the weekend saying they are tired of being ignored.
Neighbors estimate about 35 trees would be chopped down under the current plan, some of which are more than 200 years old.
"This is our backyard," said Stu Sirota, president of the Community Association. "This is where we come to play ball and picnic and hang out with friends."
Sirota says the members fully support the interior renovations, but the plan for the new pavement is a different story. "We have determined through our own traffic studies and our own local experts that there is no valid justification for the amount of exterior changes to add parking lots and pick up drop off loops," Sirota said.
Other neighbors have also expressed worries that added pavement would decrease property values. "Well I think it would lessen the value in the community by a huge amount," said Don Gerding.
School officials say there are no guarantees that the plans would be revised, but they are willing to leave room for compromise.
"We're still in the earlier stages of it," said Kevin Smith. "We still have to get the final schematic design, which is probably several months away before that happens, but we're going to continue to work with the community and the school administration to make sure that is a reality."
Smith also said that school officials are committed to communicating the steps of the project with the community.