Roxborough civic supports Green Woods Charter School’s move to Domino Lane

The Green Woods Charter School’s proposal to move to Domino Lane in Roxborough took a major step forward Thursday night, as the Ridge Park Civic Association voted to back their plan when it goes for city approvals.

The school has a sales agreement with the owners of Keenan’s Valley View Inn at 468 Domino Lane, and has also bought two smaller, adjacent parcels. In its place, the school will build a 60,000 square-foot facility with 27 classrooms to accommodate the eventual 675 students allowed by a charter expansion approved last spring. Valley View Inn owners Bill and Beth Keenan attended the meeting, and seemed eager to get the move underway. 

“How’s tomorrow?” Bill Keenan said when asked when he’d like to close the deal. For the 2012-2013 school year, Green Woods will move from its current home inside the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education off Hagys Mill Road, and lease two former Archdiocese of Philadelphia schools in Manayunk.

Meanwhile, the Domino Lane project would proceed on a brisk construction timetable beginning this August, to have it ready for school opening in September, 2013, said developer John Parsons, who will build the new campus. 

The school has agreed to a deed restriction barring it from ever opening a portion of Silverwood Street at the back of the site, which would bring traffic onto Paoli Avenue. All vehicles going to the school would enter and exit through the current driveway entrance on Domino Lane.

Even that raised questions, however. Stacy Graham, who lives on Domino Lane, voiced concerns about the amount of traffic already on the busy connector road and asked whether a traffic study could be done to gauge the potential impact of school buses and cars that would enter and exit the school grounds.

Graham said Domino Lane is already choked by the tractor-trailers that arrive at SuperFresh, blocking lanes for motorists trying to get to and from Ridge Avenue.

“I just can’t hardly imagine more traffic coming out onto Domino Lane,” Graham said.

RPCA board members said Green Woods shouldn’t be held up because of a problem with the supermarket.

Jean Wallace, the school’s CEO, said about five buses would travel into and out of the school during two 20-minute time intervals, during morning dropoff and afternoon dismissal. She said school officials were eager to work with neighbors.

NewsWorks has partnered with independent news gatherer PlanPhilly to provide regular, in-depth, timely coverage of planning, zoning and development news. Contact Amy Z. Quinn at azquinn@planphilly.com.

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