Ferndale Schools Continues Collecting Votes to Purchase Oak Park Land

Ferndale Schools Continues Collecting Votes to Purchase Oak Park Land

(Crystal A. Proxmire, June 4, 2021)

Oak Park, MI – Ferndale Schools continues to reach out to neighbors around the CASA building (23561 Rosewood St) in order to get enough votes to purchase Jackson Park land from the City of Oak Park in order to create a brand new Lower Elementary School building.  Because of a deed restriction, they must get support from over 600 neighbors in order for the City of Oak Park to be in the clear to sell them the land.

Ferndale Schools Communications Director Bill Good told Oakland County Times, “There are over 500 yes votes now.  We need like 606ish to officially pass.  But right now it is roughly 2 to 1, yes to no.  So we are confident we will get there it is just getting the final 100 signatures is slow going.”

There is no timeline on getting the signatures.  “Think of it like a petition to get an initiative on a ballot. It’s either you get the signatures or you don’t,”  Good said. “No timeline.  However, internally we need it done asap because we need to finalize planning on the new elementary school and we can’t do that until we know for sure if we have the entire plot of land or just our portion.”

The district’s goal is to build a 90,000 square foot school that includes green space. This multi-step process began last year when 80% of voters approved the Bond plan, raising the $25,000,000 the school district needs to move forward. Following that, the Ferndale School District entered into a purchase agreement with the City of Oak Park to obtain the area of Jackson Park.  By including that park area, the District will have eleven acres on which to build instead of just the seven acres they currently own.

At a previous meeting of the East Oak Park Neighborhood Association meeting, Ferndale Schools Superintendent Dania Bazzi along with James Stottlemyer, Custodial and Maintenance Services, and Bill Good, Communications and Pupil Services for Ferndale Schools  explained that if they have less land to work with, that limits their opportunity to optimize their plans.  They may have to build a two-story building instead of a one-story building, which would make it more challenging to be ADA compliant.  It would also add challenges to construct the most efficient drop off and pick up loops, parking lots, and walking paths.

Bazzi hopes the community will come together to support the request.  “I am committed to seeing these projects through and giving the students the best place to learn.  We have really built a district people can be proud of,” she said.

If you live in the area around CASA, you can contact Bill Good at Ferndale Schools to register your vote of Yes or No.  For more information on the project and the vote visit Deed – Ferndale Public Schools (ferndaleschools.org).  There residents can check to see if their address is included.

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