Hyattsville needs both excellent schools and excellent green and park spaces. We are not a community that solves problems by pitting the environment, education, and community spaces against each other. We should preserve our schools and the spaces at Magruder Park.
Hyattsville Middle School needs urgent repairs. And Hyattsville's large population near the park needs much more green space, not less, and much better facilities--the park is full to the brim on evenings and weekends. It would harm our community, our environment, our wildlife, our wetlands--and our middle school children--to take away the small amount of park, green, and wooded spaces we have. Buildings can be renovated or rebuilt, but once park space and woods are gone, they are gone forever.
None of these problems should be rushed to a solution. But where prompt action is needed for the middle school, the best solution in a densely populated city is to go vertical. HMS should build a showcase school on its own site by building up multiple levels. The cost of doing so is not as much as the severe long term cost of losing our parks and fields and forests. Building on HMS's site also avoids problems from the flood plain and property transfers at the park, which could delay or derail the project.
HMS's acreage is not ideal--neither is our park's size for our population. But HMS's space is more than many inside-the-beltway schools have, and our community can band together to help students, families, and neighbors bear temporary construction burdens. We will come out on the other side with a top notch school, and no less park and green space for Hyattsville to preserve and improve in the future.
To maximize Hyattsville's potential and attract new residents, we cannot solve infrastructure needs by abandoning the small amount of green space and parks we have. Let's unite to support Hyattsville Middle School building up on the space where it is, and let's keep the park and green space and woods so we can to improve and expand it, not lose it permanently.