At its final add/delete session for the upcoming Fiscal Year 2016 budget for Alexandria, Virginia, the Alexandria City Council reaffirmed its commitment to the parents of kids at Maury Elementary School and the surrounding community to do its part as part of the historic public/private partnership for a new schoolyard for the school and community.
In spring 2013, Maury Elementary School parents formed the Maury Schoolyard Initiative (MSI) in response to the severely deteriorated environmental condition of the schoolyard. The parents goal was to raise money to form a public/private partnership. To date, the initiative has raised over $200,000.
As mentioned, MSI has raised money from private citizens over the last couple of years and the Alexandria City Public School Board (ACPS) has set aside money as well too. ACPS could only put up a portion of the public money needed for the new schoolyard’s public/private partnership which then left parents turning to the Alexandria City Council.
During the final/add delete session on Monday, City Council members decided to allow the requested funding into the FY 2016 budget for the new schoolyard ($250,000) with a couple of contingencies. 1) The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Alexandria’s Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities and ACPS over the schoolyard must be completed and 2) City Council wants to review the plan for the new schoolyard. These contingencies will be finalized during the Thursday adoption of the FY 2016 budget and must be completed before the City will release the funds for the schoolyard project.
Needless to say, MSI is thrilled with the outcome. Here’s a statement from John Buscher.
MSI is thrilled with the Alexandria City Council’s decision to join our public-private partnership and provide funding for much-needed underground stormwater drainage and maintenance at the Maury Schoolyard.
The City Council has recognized that renovation of our Schoolyard is more than just a school project – it’s a community-wide project that provides outdoor learning and recreation space for all Alexandrians.
We have said from the beginning of this effort that our goal was to make an outdoor space that benefits the community, not just Maury. In helping manage the critical issue of water flowing across the yard, the City is allowing us to focus the money raised from private donors and ACPS funding on the design and construction of a permanent, lasting outdoor space.
Justin Wilson, Paul Smedberg and Mayor Euille have been especially engaged in promoting our project through the budget process, but are we are also grateful to Tim Lovain, John Chapman, Del Pepper and Allison Silberberg for their advice and steadfast support.
We thank our elected officials for having the foresight to respond to a serious need in the Rosemont neighborhood that will one day be a shining gem for all of Alexandria.
You can see what the renovation plan for the schoolyard looks like above (click on the image for a larger view) or click this link. We have been told by MSI that what you see in the image (or at the link ) will not deviate much from the final plan.