I was most disturbed to read the June 7 headline that our Gainesville Board of Education “returns to (the) original Enota plan.” As a city taxpayer and a person who spent 40 years teaching students the importance of examining all sides of a question, I feel betrayed by our board.
Eight years ago, the Enota garden was established, and after thousands of hours of volunteer labor and many donated dollars, an outstanding teaching facility was created. This may now be bulldozed to flatten the terrain to build a parking lot and to raise the level of a newly renovated playground. This action is being taken despite assurances that alternatives would be considered.
Such action simply reinforces the arguments being made during this election cycle that elected officials have no real concern for the desires of their constituents. More than 1,200 Gainesville citizens signed a petition asking that an alternative be considered. This action also seems contrary to the policy followed during the planning for the new Gainesville High and Fair Street Elementary Schools.
Both of those projects involved teachers and community leaders who had input into the design to ensure preservation of history and to achieve state-of-the-art educational facilities. The Enota process does not appear to have followed historical precedent.
I am saddened that no real effort was made to consider the desires of the Enota community. I am disappointed that the discussion process was cut short by a called meeting of the board which appears to have been designed to bypass community input.
There is a real fear that the process being followed in this much-needed Enota reconstruction may be the beginning of a new era where the board and system administration undertake significant projects without considering the desires or seeking input from the citizens of this community.