When Robert Ford moved into his home nearly 30 years ago, he never thought someday he’d be fighting to keep his neighborhood intact.
But that's exactly what neighbors and members of the Concerned Taxpayers of Quaker Valley say they're going to continue doing following the release of a traffic study commissioned by the Quaker Valley School District.
The study presented to the school board last week concludes, among other recommends, that three homes in the 700 block of Beaver Street would have to be leveled in the long-term to build a parking lot, student drop-off and bus turnaround next to the school.
“I think they ought to figure out another way, and there are other options," Ford said.
Residents plan to host a block party today hoping to bring some attention to the neighborhood of nine houses adjacent to Quaker Valley High School.
"These are people's homes," said Beth Carroll, president of the concerned taxpayers group. "It's not like it's an issue not worth fighting."
“Party at the Nine” is from 2 to 4 p.m. Organizers say the public is invited to come out and meet the families and organization members. Historical context will be given, with homes from 712 to 726 Beaver St. being the focus.
Carroll said the group supports the school and doesn’t want to give the impression the campus shouldn't be improved.
“It’s a great high school and the students are fabulous, and we want it in our neighborhood,” said Carroll of Leetsdale. “I’m not sure paving homes to make a parking lot is vital to the neighborhood.”
Quaker Valley purchased homes at 704 and 706 Beaver St. and is working to negotiate the sale of a third property. School officials say they are interested in only the three homes, but neighbors feel that tearing down three houses will destroy the entire block.
Ford said residents didn’t become aware of the plans until February after the school approached a neighbor about purchasing unlisted property. Ford said a neighbor told him the prospect of eminent domain was also raised as a scare tactic, a complaint he brought publicly last week to the school board and that board President Jack Norris vehemently denied. School officials said both property owners—one a 91-year-old man—were willing sellers.
A committee comprised of district residents and officials is being formed to further review the traffic study and to offer recommendations.
Quaker Valley spokeswoman Tina Vojtko said the committee won't get started until after the new year as the focus remains primarily on preparations for the middle school reopening.
The concerned taxpayers group has yet to formally discuss the traffic study results, but the general consensus of members is that purchasing homes is not necessary.
"It's not fiscally responsible with our money,” Carroll said.
Hot dogs, s’mores and apple cider will be provided at today's block party. Vistors are asked to park behind the homes.
Other upcoming events planned include a public town hall meeting from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Sewickley Public Library and a spaghetti dinner fundraiser from 3 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27 at the Leetsdale VFW.