Wednesday, November 19, 2014

school board will decide about Wilson School on Dec. 18

At tonight's RAFOM meeting, Steve Cole, Chair of the Arlington County Planning Board, provided a direct, factual briefing on the status of planning for the Rosslyn site encompassing Wilson School. Cole noted that Arlington County school enrollment was up an unprecedented 5% this year. The school system is thus very concerned to build more schools. Cole stated that, in these circumstances, the school board doesn't consider preserving Wilson School to be a feasible choice. The school board will announce its plans for the Wilson School site at its meeting on Dec. 18.

Some local residents oppose replacing Wilson School with a more modern school building. Rosslyn's Wilson School was built in 1910. It's one of the oldest schools in Arlington. Stan Karson, RAFOM President, announced that he and others are moving to have Wilson School declared a historic building  to be preserved.

Nancy Iacomini, Chair of the Courthouse Square Study, provided an energetic review of planning for a new public greenspace across from the Arlington County Detention Center and Courthouse. Kris Krider, County Planning Staff, made clear that the group is examining from many different perspectives the general layout of the space. This planning effort looks to be establishing a path to transform an ugly parking lot into a great public space.

A local resident pointed out that Courthouse Square has unattractive connotations. Going to a courthouse is associated with unpleasant experiences -- fighting about traffic tickets, arguing with your ex-spouse about child custody arrangements, and filing legal documents for a deceased family member. Moreover, the term square has a rigid, rectangular sense associated with last century. The new public space needs a new, attractive name. No name is more attractive than Rosslyn. The resident suggested that Courthouse hold a public referendum to become part of Rosslyn. Or at least the public space be called not "Courthouse Square" but "Rosslyn Town Circle." The reception of this idea was somewhat chilly.

The Ode Street Tribune isn't afraid to buck popular opinion. The Tribune strongly endorses the name "Rosslyn Town Circle" rather than "Courthouse Square" for the new public greenspace across from the County Courthouse and Detention Center.

No comments: