My family has lived on Oak Street for 14 years. Our daughters attended Lincoln Elementary, a 10-minute walk from our house. Many cherished memories, indeed some of our best Winchester friendships, were made lingering while the kids played at “our” school playground before meandering home. Therefore I was shocked and saddened by the School Redistricting Plan. If accepted, it threatens to compromise our beloved in-town, walkable lifestyle, and weaken the desirability that brought many young families to our neighborhood. It will erase the rich tradition of families strolling down Washington Street with backpacked kids for morning drop-off or afternoon pick-up, heading to or coming from the train to work. At-home parents who now bundle up their strollered little ones, drop the “big kids” at Lincoln, then head downtown for walkable errands or coffee dates at Starbuck’s will soon be hauling everyone into the car or onto the bus.
With all due respect, the common sense and safety of this Plan must be considered more carefully! I urge you to POSTPONE THIS VOTE until further research can be done!
As a Realtor, I can tell you that one of the great appeals and values of any neighborhood is the proximity to its school. Buyers ask, "How far is the school? We want to be able to walk." Every listing agent in town puts the phrase "walk to school!" on their listing sheets. It’s a great selling point! When hearing about this development, one neighborhood homeowner said, "Gee, that's why we bought on this street." Another parent stood in front of the Redistricting Map and said, "Well, I wouldn't buy a house in THIS neighborhood" while pointing to my street. This plan has the potential to negatively affect home values in the redistricted areas and may drive families to other neighborhoods, towns, or private schools.
Despite having 2 elementary schools within ½ mile, the Plan will send our neighborhood’s families 1.5 miles away to Lynch. While an excellent school (many friends’ children walk to Lynch daily and love it), it’s significantly further away with necessary crossings at busy streets. Even families with “grandfathered” Lincoln 5th graders will be scrambling to get younger siblings at Lynch safely home. More buses and cars, fuel emissions, traffic, earlier pickup/dropoff times, and significant expense to our families. Not Sustainable!
Dear Committee, if your neighborhood’s culture, sustainability, and value were being threatened, what would YOU do?
Realtor, REMAX Leading Edge
Resident of Oak Street