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From: A Concerned Citizen

To whom it may concern,

The Mayor of Charleston is doing a disservice to the African American children that live on the West side of the city. They are about to lose access to Harmon Field which is located on President Street which covers the block between Line and Fishburne  Streets and extends from President Street to Hagood Ave. This is supposed to be a renovation project to upgrade Harmon Field but in fact the Charleston Development Academy Public Charter School will be built on the site facing President Street.

The City is in the process now of demolishing the building, basketball court, baseball field and play area. This will leave the children on the West side of the City without a recreational area especially the children that live on the Gadsden Green Project and the surrounding areas. The Residents that live on the project are afraid to voice their concerns for fear of being evicted. The Councilman for that area is unreachable and will not speak up.

There is Mitchell Park on Rutledge Ave which is small compared to Harmon Field; on an average day you will see approximately 100+ children and adults on Harmon Field. Also the other concern is the distance from the projects where the majority of the children live. The other park is Hampton Park also located on upper Rutledge Ave. is even farther then Mitchell Park and will be very dangerous for the children because of the traffic and streets they would have to cross to get to these other parks.

I grew up on the Gadsden Green Project and Harmon Field was available for us to play. We learned how to play different sports and we went there just to have fun with our friends. We also learned what it meant to be a part of a team. If they take this park away from the children they will never have the opportunity to experience what we did on Harmon Field.

This land was deeded to the city by the Harmon Foundation in 1927. There is a marker on the corner of Line and President Streets. The marker reads as follows:

This playfield was made ours through the assistance of theHarmon Foundation

1927 Dedicated forever to the plays of Children, the development of youth and

The recreation of all “The Gift of Land is the Gift Eternal”

There is one complication to the Charter School being built on this land. It involves the original deed to the park land. The park site was donated to the public by the Harmon Foundation in 1927. The New York City based foundation funded parks across the country.

The deed specifies that the land must be used for playground and recreation purposes “in perpetuity.”

So, it means that the land cannot be used for anything else but as a recreation/playground area for children.

 

Respectfully,

A Concerned Citizen

 

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