The Hurley School playground was approved, at last night’s South End Landmarks Commission.

Parents have wanted to replace a surface parking lot with an Astroturf playing field and a smaller parking lot.

Some in the community have been vehemently opposed.

Cynics believe that much of the opposition is from people who previously used the parking lot. With parking a premium in the South End, many were leaving their cars there, after school hours, on weekends, and during summer vacation.

Some people had actually had agreements with the principal of the school – they paid the school a small fee; in return, they got to park in the lot, whenever they wanted to.

At the hearing, residents were able to talk about the school’s plans.

The first couple of guys were against it. They said they didn’t like the chain link fence going around the field (or on one side, actually), and that Astroturf was totally out of character with the historic South End. True.

Then the parents had their say. They said they had to use Astroturf because it needed less maintenance, plus the field will be used so often that any real grass would be turned into dirt in no time.

Then this parent took the floor. “We are spending a lot of money on this, to benefit our children. The Astroturf and fence are decisions made to limit the money we need to raise (over $200,000). And, we don’t all have sweetheart deals with the principal to get free parking, like Brian does!

Sweet! Awesome.

Well, Brian was actually at the meeting. “You know, there’s no need to make this personal … there’s no reason for personal attacks!”

That’s when the slapping started.

Actually, no. They said a couple more words to each other, calmed down, and the meeting continued.

In the end, the Landmarks Commission voted unanimously for the playground, as proposed, with the caveat that the school would attempt to raise enough money to put in a “ribbon” picket fence, in place of the chain link fence.

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Updated:  1st Q 2018

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