We last visited the Chester A. Arthur school on the 2000 block of Catharine Street about a year and a half ago, when local parent group Friends of Chester Arthur (FoCA) raised the funds necessary to construct a seating area around the school's playground. Incidentally, FoCA was integral in getting said playground built in the first place. Needless to say, the playground and the seating area both get plenty of use during school hours and beyond.
For their next trick, FoCA plans to leverage a large grant from the Water Department to transform the rest of the schoolyard from a barren asphalt lot into a green space for students and the rest of the community. And they need your help! Earlier this week, FoCA and landscape architects Salt Design Studio hosted a meeting at the school to discuss different variations of a plan to green the schoolyard. Salt is especially qualified for this task, as they've been working with the Lea School for the last several years on the now-progressing Greening Lea project. At the meeting, they presented these three concepts for the schoolyard:
Clearly, each of the concepts have different things going for them. The first concept has a second play area, which would make all the kiddies in the neighborhood really happy. Concept B has an outdoor classroom space and a cool landscape berm feature. And the final concept has a great entrance at the corner of 21st & Catharine, welcoming the community into the schoolyard.
FoCA and Salt can't do this thing by themselves and they're actively seeking input from neighbors and parents. They've set up an online survey which provides additional info about the three concepts and seeks feedback on each of them. We took the survey earlier today and it took all of five minutes. It's only up for a few days so if you'd like to provide your input we suggest you take the survey right away. And in case you're wondering, construction is expected to take place in the summer of 2016. But there's plenty of design work and fundraising to do between now and then.
To take the survey, click here.