My November 2011 letter to Ms. Nalley stated clearly that any redevelopment of these parcels would include a rebuilt playground. I can state unequivocally that there is no way this project will happen without relocating or rebuilding the playground, possibly even closer to the school itself.
Unaware of the letter, a group of parents recently started an online petition to save the Newman Street Playground. Led by Annapolis Elementary PTA president Chris Stelzig, the petition signers are asking for assurances that a new, similar playground be built if the existing one needs to be removed.
Much of the concern behind the petition appears to stem from the fact that the City Council resolution makes no mention of the playground. Although the resolution’s intent was not to get into that level of detail, it is understandable how the lack of a clear statement could invite these concerns.
I share the organizers’ passion for the playground. It is a fantastic community gathering place and a welcome oasis for parents with young children who need to burn some energy. (My family often ends up there when we go downtown.) The playground is essential for the Board of Education as well. School officials have clearly stated the need to retain a safe, robust playground for students at the school.
If, as I hope, this project continues to move forward, the Annapolis Elementary PTA as well as many other stakeholders will have ample opportunity for involvement and input.