August 21, 2013

Calling On Mayor, Council, and Parents To Do Right By the Valley Road Building

To the Editor:

As a Princeton resident and taxpayer, with no strings attached, I want to express my opinion on the Valley Road Building’s fate.

I support the letters written by Dick Woodbridge, Kip Cherry, Mary Clurman, Chuck Creesy and others, who favor the VRS-ARC proposal of reusing the building as a community center, with non-profit organizations as tenants, and who have clarified repeatedly facts, numbers, and ways needed to make this project a reality.

I want to make clear that Princeton Public Schools (PPS) did not seek proposals for the future of this building on its own. Actually, after years of ignoring it, they were forced to look into the issue due to the pressure and perseverance from a group of concerned citizens. This did not sit well with them.

I want to mention Andrea Spalla’s condescending attitude at a Board meeting years ago. During the same meeting, PPS deemed the building unsafe. What a contradiction, PPS allowed tenants to stay until as recently as May 2013.

PPS, not surprisingly, refuses to accept the $3.9 million estimated cost proposed by Spiegel Consultants, which has sufficient documentation backing up this amount.

PPS has shown an inability to give the proposal a “go,” delaying donations and the reuse of a building that would provide space for education, recreation, and counseling.

PPS has shown, for years, no intention of conducting any maintenance or repairs of a building held in their care.

PPS signed a Sustainability Resolution. I found this very hypocritical as they have the opportunity of showing how “sustainable” they are by reusing the building. I call on the abundant ecological/sustainable groups in town. They save streams, grow organic vegetables, make compost, and make garbage bags lighter. What is their view? I call on PPS parents. Do they want this building to be reused or do they want to “pitch in” with another tax increase, when it is too late?

I call on the mayor, who always says she is open to dialogue. Personal emails do not do the job as well as if she clarifies her opinion publicly.

Princeton Council Members, you recently considered the possibility of raising your salaries with not even six months in office. What do you say? “That’s dead, we’re done”? Mr. Liverman, are you done? Do you dismiss VRS ARC supporters’ signatures? Don’t you even think that the building could be used for future Princeton students?

PPS members exhibit behavior that disqualifies them from office. It seems to me that they are making this a personal issue and their bruised egos are blurring their objectivity. Unacceptable.

This historic building is left to perish at the cost of the taxpayers. It is not only sad. It is wrong. It is time to do our homework, express our voices, react and fight for what we believe is the right thing to do.

Quoting Anna Quindlen, “In a democratic society, the only treason is silence.”

Sandra Jordan

Grover Avenue