PHOTO BY PAULA MULLER
Peter Grocki argues against the Breeds Pond Reservoir site plan for a potential new Pickering Middle School.
By LEAH DEARBORN
LYNN — On Wednesday night, residents at a public forum had another chance to weigh in on potential new Pickering Middle School sites.
Project architect Gene Raymond of Raymond Design Associates, Inc. presented information about the project before a crowd that nearly filled the auditorium of the old Pickering.
The forum focused on the site near Breeds Pond Reservoir off Parkland Avenue, which has drawn heavy criticism from residents at past meetings.
One of the more contentious points discussed over the course of the evening was the possibility of private homes being removed in order to provide the new school with two points of access.
Of the potential areas being considered for a school location, only the reservoir site would require the taking of private homes by eminent domain.
Raymond said one option is to create a route across from Richardson Road, which would require the removal of two homes. The Lynnfield Street option would take one home at the end of Shoemaker Road and another at the end of Severance Street. A third option near Basse Road would not require the removal of any homes.
Raymond added that the results of an ongoing traffic study may help shed light on the best location.
“Don’t tell us this is a plan, then tell us you’re going to take someone’s home,” said Gayle Chandler of Parkland Avenue during the public commentary session. Chandler added that residents should continue to fight the development in court if necessary.
Ellen Barr of Richardson Road voiced traffic and safety concerns. She said parking along Parkland Avenue already begins early in the morning and that it’s a common route for large trucks.
Other residents were angered by the encroachment of the development on Lynn Woods and Pine Grove Cemetery.
“The woods across the street from the cemetery is the cemetery,” said Donald Castle of Bellevue Road.
Attendee Elizabeth Sutherland, who lives on Woodside Terrace, said she was skipping school for the night to come to the forum.
“By the time I had a flier in my mail it was only a few days from when something was happening,” said Sutherland.
Former city councilor Joseph Scanlon, who also lives on Parkland Avenue, said he was at the forum to listen.
“I’ve been to all three meetings and they seem to change all the time,” said Scanlon.
The forum was the third of its kind and Project Manager Lynn Stapleton said there will be another sometime in the next several weeks to discuss the proposed McManus Field middle school site.
Stapleton said that while a formal recommendation should be forthcoming from the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) on Nov. 9, there’s still another year in the development process left to go.