Questioning levy details doesn’t mean voters don’t care about improvement

I have listened to voters on both sides of this issue, as well as to members of the levy committee. I’ve yet to hear anyone express, either privately or publicly, that they are opposed to improving our schools. I have, however, listened to legitimate concerns that deserve to be heard without shaming, which seems to be the default mode of certain proponents.

One of the concerns I share is the ultimate cost to taxpayers. According to information provided by the levy committee, homeowners may expect an annual increase of about $200 per $100,000 of property value. For my household, that’s an increase of about $400 yearly, or $30 per month. Are we able to absorb this? Yes, fortunately, we are. But since nearly half of Marietta City residents are renters to whom this cost will likely be passed on by landlords, it’s a very real concern.

Another concern is traffic and safety. It doesn’t take an engineer (although there was one present at the levy meeting I attended who believes this location to be completely untenable) to know that Glendale and Colgate cannot possibly handle this much traffic. Drastic redesign of the intersection and the addition of turn lanes (probably much like Pike and Seventh Streets) would be required, at minimum. No matter what happens to control traffic flow once vehicles make it inside the actual school site, the fact remains they’ll need to use Colgate or Glendale to get there.

Before anyone uses the “not in my backyard” shame tactic, let me say this. I’m sure the buildings and campus would be attractive and we’d find the money to maintain them in the coming years. But when the integrity of a unique and beautiful neighborhood will be drastically altered, when the traffic study alone to meet strict state specifications will cost untold thousands (I’m wondering what the final cost of the Pike and Seventh Streets project was), then it makes we question whether this is the right location and another more appropriate one might be found. I’ve never seen a K-12 building that wasn’t in an easily accessed area, with ample room to meet all needs, unlike that being proposed here.

These are real and legitimate concerns. They don’t deserve to be trivialized, nor do they mean that voters who have questions don’t care about improving our schools.

Nancy Lee