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Group hosts meeting on school project

Date: 3/13/2012

March 14, 2012

By Debbie Gardner

WESTFIELD — Approximately 46 concerned citizens from the neighborhood surrounding the proposed Ashley Street School gathered at St. John's Lutheran Church on March 11 to hear information presented by a group opposed to the project.

Thomas Smith, a spokesman for the group of neighbors, told Reminder Publications several of the attendees were concerned about the potential for construction of the new school to create groundwater problems for surrounding homes.

"With the [recent] high water table, people were bringing up that they have water in their cellars," Smith said. "One family on Ashley Street never had water until that little apartment building was built behind them, now they get water."

Smith said the size of the school's foundation — approximately 48,000 square feet of cement — is cause for concern, as the foundation will extend from five feet below the frost line to the surface.

According to Smith, a ground water survey was not done prior to the school site being approved for construction.

The group has started a Facebook page to keep citizens updated on their findings at

It has already questioned the taking of Cross Street Playground to build the school and brought a lawsuit against the city over a Zoning Board of Appeals decision regarding a special permit allowing for the school to be built on what they consider an under-sized lot.

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