The announcement by Mayor Brian Arrigo in his recent State of the City Address that the site of Wonderland Dog Track is his number one priority for a development certainly is good news. This 34-acre site should be a catalyst for more development throughout the city.
However, rather than allowing the entirety of the 34 acres of land go to a developer, now might be the time if possible to take some of the raw land by eminent domain for a future site of a school as has been discussed in the past.
There seems to be very few large tracts of free land left in our city. The only other large undeveloped tract could be the 42-acre site of horse barns at Suffolk Downs that is not for sale.
No one can deny that we need another school building with classroom size for some classes at Revere High approaching 46 students.
Even if future development in the city skews more toward commercial than residential projects, there still will be some degree of residential development, which means that our school population will continue to grow. In addition, one only has to look at Ward Six neighborhoods to know that many of these homes will be changing from empty nesters to new families, who will be adding more children into our school system.
Presently, there are plans to apply for state aid in building a new combination high school and middle school on the site of the present Revere High School.
Will this afford enough space to stem the overcrowding in classrooms? All one knows is that the five new schools that were built in the last 10 years were not enough. And we know that as Boston becomes more expensive, families will be seeking communities such as Revere to live in.
When the Hill School and Paul Revere Schools were built, the homes taken by eminent domain were purchased for a combined price in the millions of dollars. Undeveloped land like at Wonderland would be less expensive than what was purchased under eminent domain for the Hill School or Paul Revere School, giving the taxpayers better use of their dollars.