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Group raising concerns about site for planned elementary school

Posted at 10:27 PM, Feb 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-08 22:27:22-05

ESTERO — A group of people living in Estero are planning to speak at Tuesday night’s school board meeting.

They’re concerned about a school planned to be built near their neighborhood. They don’t think the area is safe for kids, and they don’t want the traffic.

The group met at the community center in the Copper Oaks neighborhood Monday with two things on their mind.

"One of our concerns is the safety of the school. The other concern is about traffic," said Scott Gulick.

The neighbors said traffic is bad enough already, without a school added to the mix.

"I wouldn’t let my little one cross Corkscrew Rd. I don’t care how many people there are directing traffic," said Susan Cesareo.

Instead of building a school off of Three Oaks Pkwy., the group is advocating for a new school off of Block Ln. It’s land the school district purchased years ago for more than $2 million. It was meant to be the site of the new school, and even had surveying done, but the Village of Estero changed its mind.

"All the resources we’ve put into Block Ln., why all of a sudden are we throwing that out the window?” said Gulick.

When we got School Board Member Chris Patricca on the phone, she explained it has to do with the Village not having enough space.

"They were unable to purchase the land that they wanted to purchase to create this vision," said Patricca.

But Patricca also said the land off Block Ln. can still go to good use.

"We'll hold onto it in the event we need to add onto Estero High School at some point in the future," said Patricca.

The neighbors also had concerns about wetlands and the wildlife that live in the woods off Three Oaks Pkwy. Patricca said the Distrcit did a preliminary study, and found that, while some animals do cross the land, there’s no evidence that any animals actually live there.

The neighbors will be speaking at the School Board meeting Tuesday night, which starts at 6 p.m. at the administration building.