East side residents concerned about old school site - Tucson News Now

East side residents concerned about old school site becoming dumping ground

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Residents in an East Tucson community are concerned about a closed school site turning into a dumping site for trash, in their community.

Residents living near Reynolds Elementary school near Stella and Prudence contacted Tucson News Now, saying the old school site was becoming an eyesore.

The school was shut down due to budget cuts about two years ago.

Billy Eader, a concerned resident said he had repeatedly tried to contact TUSD officials about the problem.

On Thursday morning the playground of the closed school site was littered with debris, old clothes, and a used mattress.

Residents said they were frustrated after seeing other closed school sites turning into community playgrounds.  They pointed out Schumaker Elementary, a recently closed school, that was still accessible to the community as a playground.

Residents wanted to know why their school site could not be re-opened and utilized for their community.

"I just want to know why certain properties seem so important.  Other neighborhoods like Schumaker, it seems like they could care less about what is going on in our neighborhood. Why is that property more important than this one.  There they are maintaining things and taking care of stuff," said Eader.

TUSD Governing board member Dr. Mark Stegeman said this was the first he was hearing of this problem.

"I think it's terrible. We want our schools to keep our sites up. I haven't been aware of the situation at Reynolds and we need to fix that right away," said Stegeman.

Governing board member Cam Juarez also responded to our call, saying he would personally make phone calls and see to it that this problem was made a priority.

Cara Rene, a spokeswoman for TUSD said Operations staff had been contacted, and were heading to the school to take a look at the problem.

They expected to get the trash off the property as early as Friday.

Rene said maintenance staff toured closed school sites weekly to clean up and maintain the property.  Rene said staff had been out there a week ago and cleaned up the property, so this was new trash that must have accumulated.

Rene said staff performed routine maintenance at the closed school sites. This included watering the grass, trimming plants, fixing broken windows, and removing trash.

The school district plans to put up flyers in neighborhoods with closed schools, letting residents know who they can call if they have problems in their community.

Those who have concerns about closed school sites should contact the school safety office at (520) 584-7676.

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