I paused the online recording of the commissioners’ meeting, stood up and shouted, twisting my creaking body, whistling, and taking another look down Suwannee at the WinterFest floats parading in front of my well-aged home. I sang and tapped and slid across my fine pine floors and broke into song, “All I want for Christmas is my grand ole school, our old ole school, the great old school …”
Not since Davenport’s beloved water tower was razed in 2014 has the city been this close to losing another local edifice, the 1927 community school in the heart of the area’s residential district. At least one commissioner reported that he had never received so much communication from the public on any single issue until this one came up, so I know I’m not alone in my cheer.
His decision to support Polk’s School Board was an effort to remain on the right side of history and in-line with the wishes of most of Suwannee’s residents. So, to each of us Suwanneeans, I toast with my glass of Old Rip Van Winkel’s. “Mazel tov!” I start by my fire with glee, “Will you cheer with me?”
With Ordinance 871’s approval, which will eventually close one block of road on Suwannee, the city will get to keep a historical structure, improve educational opportunities for kids who live right here, and see our aged structure through and back to its glory days. The school will unite elementary children within about two miles of the school, who’ll either have to walk for their much needed exercise or get driven there — some say — by the evil Krampus.
The side benefits of a community elementary school are substantial. It’ll give parents a reason to pass by our up-and-coming business center and give in to their seasonal whims. Yoga anyone?
So I sing that the icing on my red velvet cakes were not puffed-up pecans with sweet Medjool dates. For you grateful reader, you really must know, it’ll be an infusion of millions unknown. (Actually we do know. $20 million to be exact. I just liked the rhyme. You know, seasonal.)
Anyway, the jobs it’ll infuse with be all of a rage. More jobs right here locally, in the inner city, for crossing guards, school teachers, administrators, and who knows what else. Not a moment too late. (Oh, there I go again.)
Last but not least, there now will always be at least one historical structure in Davenport’s fleet that won’t be demolished in any of our lifetimes. Mazel tov to my neighbors and to all a good night.