Chatham High Parking Shortage a Concern
Overflow lot at Colony Pool could offer less spaces for high school.
Superintendent Michael LaSusa told the Board of Education Monday he and Business Administrator Peter Daquila are working with Chatham Township officials to find a solution to a potential parking shortage for Chatham High School students.
"PSE&G will be doing a whole bunch of construction along the power line grid, and that will cause the Colony Pool parking lot to be unavailable for probably the entire school year," LaSusa said. "We have to make some accommodations for our overspill that we use that lot for."
According to Chatham Township Mayor Nicole Hagner, PSE&G terminated a licensing agreement at Colony Pool which allowed the township to use the gravel parking lot. Township officials have let high school students park in the lot, since the high school lot is limited to students with a parking permit.
"Once we learn definitively of what the conditions at Colony will be, we will be in a position to solidify our plans for the school year," LaSusa said.
"Township officials have been very generous with us. We are able to to use all the paved portions [of the Colony parking lot]," LaSusa said.
There are three paved portions of the parking lot at Colony Pool: one near the tennis courts, one across from the pool and one on the same side of the street as the pool.
"We're hopeful that will accommodate most of our needs, though we still might hae to make some arrangements. Darren Groh is working on that," LaSusa said.
PSE&G is expected to begin construction on their North Central Reliability Project in Chatham. The company has already begun construction in some towns. Construction could last from two to four years.
Board Member Steve Barna asked about safety at the construction sites. LaSusa told him the township asked PSE&G to construct a fence around the tower construction. "We haven't had confirmation yet from PSE&G, but I know the township folks have been working closely with them," LaSusa said.
Daquila said the district should not have to worry about similar issues arising in Chatham Borough. "I'm not sure any of the schools in the borough are as close to the power lines as Southern [Boulevard School] and Colony parking lot," he said.
Board Member Jill Weber said some students from Chatham Middle School might walk along the power lines between the back of the school and the Tri-Boro Bridge, also known as the Bridge to Nowhere. "Kids like to play out there," she said. "That's the only other power line that would come close to one of our schools."
The board directed Daquila to make sure there were safeguards in place to protect students who might walk near power lines.
PSE&G representatives will be present at the Aug. 16 Chatham Township Committee meeting.