Editor’s Note: The letter writer sent this letter to Louis Ranieri, the founder and executive director of the RCS Learning Center in Natick. The author, 15, also submitted the letter to Framingham Source. The Planning Board granted approval of RCS Learning Center’s application in June.
I have resided in the Nobscot area of Framingham for the 15 years I’ve been alive.
I’ve gone from catching frogs and salamanders in the woods to more mature endeavors such as photographing the wild beauty that exists on the property your organization is planning to develop. These woods have been home to multiple camp outs, hikes and nature walks. I have seen countless amounts of deer, foxes, coyotes, fisher cats and more. I have seen the seasons change for all my years of life- the trees growing bare in the winter and returning in full bloom come spring and summer.
My father, sisters and I have developed walking trails that circle around the area and even lead to our close friends’ home on Edgell Road. We’ve set up land markers and put a few signs on some trees, fond memories of mine, all of which have been removed in order to show off the property. I have learned more from these woods than a science class would ever teach me. I have experienced the beauty of life and death and the cycles that the earth goes through in each season.
I understand. I know why you feel this spot is a good place for the RCS Learning Center to be built. But I do not agree.
I have been shot down when I express my hopes to stall this plan, but I cannot accept that. I have been continually accused of being a “NIMBY” (one who does not care what happens as long as it’s not in their backyard) when that is the exact opposite of who I am.
I have a passion that has been telling me to get up and do something about this place I have grown so fond of, as I’ve previously raised awareness for issues worldwide.
I collected and donated hundreds of bars of soap to Haitians during the major cholera outbreak and the rest went to homeless veterans in Boston.
I presented a project to regional officials on climate change in the rainforests when I was only in elementary school. I even wrote a letter to then-president of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, regarding deforestation.
I’ve served at the food pantry downtown and volunteer for events through my school, Keefe Technical High School.
However, the issue has now reached home turf.
The animals I mentioned earlier will be the most drastically affected. The deer mate in those woods. The squirrels, birds, chipmunks, and bunnies all create nests under brush and in the trees. The Boy Scouts have a reservation.
Developing the land will take away everything that you like it for.
The students will no longer have animals to observe in a natural habitat because you will have taken it away.
The birds will no longer sing in the early mornings when everyone arrives to school – they will be in desperate search of a new home because the tree they built their nest in was cut down to clear space.
At the rate humans are going, we will no longer have an earth left – we will have used up everything.
I’m not a seasoned politician or well informed expert, but I do know the difference between right and wrong, between logical and illogical.
And the question that continuously goes through my mind is why?
Why are already vacant properties left to waste away instead of being revived for a school?
Why are the beautiful, open lots destroyed to make a new space?
And why do the residents have no say in what happens?
The Dover Amendment, a Massachusetts state law, “exempts agricultural, religious and educational corporations from certain zoning restrictions.”
So if you’re given this great amount of freedom to build wherever you wish, why choose the virgin land?
My house is right on top of the land you plan to develop.
What will happen when you do the blasting? Will my family and the others near me be reimbursed for any structural damage caused?
On top of this, we have three other schools within two miles of each other.
The traffic is ludicrous; I’m off the bus at 2:35 and by then the cars and buses are already backed up down Edgell and McAdams. We are a small, overcrowded village with little, and soon to be no, open space left to appreciate. There are countless campuses going to waste in more secluded, open spaces than our little lot of land. I know the deal seems to be done, but I’m writing to you to do anything you can to reconsider this decision. You have an admirable organization and mission however I don’t know that I could say that any longer if you go through with the choice to develop our beautiful, untouched land.
With all due respect,
Livoli Road in Framingham