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Letter to the Editor: New school cost concerning

by | Aug 1, 2023 | Letter to Editor

My concern increases with news of decisions being made regarding the proposed new school. While I am grateful for the Elementary School Building Committee members’ willingness to volunteer their time and energy for this project, recent reports have me scratching my head.

We learned that the actual cost of the school is a moving target that is based on various contingencies involving the state’s level of reimbursement — ranging from 25% to 49.64% depending on a multitude of factors. We “should” have a number by the end of August, but maybe not until October. And the Special Town Meeting to vote on this is when? November? Chasing after state reimbursement has not proven to be cost-effective or even efficient for other large projects in town (Main Street corridor), so what makes anyone believe this will be different?

Also reported was the traffic study that showed that “the times with the most traffic (on Hayden Rowe) did not correspond with school related opening and closing times.” Gobsmacked is my only response to this bit of nonsense. The residents of Hayden Rowe and the side streets near the schools know that the heaviest traffic is during opening and closing of schools.

Also alarming is the report of a “snowball effect” regarding school population growth and capital needs reported out from the School Committee. Hopkinton’s population growth was among the largest in the state between 2010-20; according to census data it rose 23.9%. Since 2020, the population rose 2.9% and is projected to rise by another 20% by 2035. Hopkinton has also consistently issued the highest number of building permits for single family homes in Middlesex County for that same time period. We just keep building and building when we clearly don’t have the infrastructure to support all this growth.

We can change zoning to slow growth of single-family housing. We can and should diversify the commercial base instead of making it nearly impossible for any development beyond enormous houses. The path we are on is a dead end.

We have seen how easy it is to turn people’s heads with fancy schematics and well-dressed consultants selling dreams which turn into nightmares because no one has thought about the long-term consequences. We need a new balanced vision for this community, one that speaks to the needs of all its citizens. This is not anti-school, it is pro-Hopkinton.

— Anne Mattina, Hopkinton

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