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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Mayor celebrates purchase of Harrow greenspace

- believes Harrow High School building should be sold to a developer -


by Sylene Argent 

On Friday, members of Essex Council gathered to celebrate officially signing the deed to obtain the Harrow High School building and several acres of surrounding greenspace.

  After around five-years of working on the deal, Council publicly passed a resolution at the Monday, November 19 special meeting to approve the purchase and the financing in the amount of $845,900, and further directed administration to finance any future purchase of the former Harrow High School property from the Landfill Reserve Fund. 

  The intention is to expand the current recreation opportunities in Harrow, enhance the greenspace, and increase access to the property by directly connecting Pollard Park, information from the Town of Essex on the matter notes.

  “This is a major asset for Harrow,” Essex Mayor Larry Snively said during the gathering at the space on Friday. He said the purchase was necessary to avoid a landlock of Pollard Park, if the greenspace were to get purchased by a developer. “What a nice place to come.”

  Snively said the Town purchased the site to support healthy living.

  “I won’t ask ratepayers to put money into the building,” Snively said, adding he has heard the former high school has a leaky roof and is likely in need of other repairs. In speaking on his own behalf, as one member of the eight-member decision-making team inside the Essex Council Chambers, “To me, that building should be sold to a private developer…but that’s a Council decision.”

  With that potential money, he said the Harrow Arena could be expanded upon to make more space for the Harrow Early Immigrant Research Society (HEIRS), which is stationed there.

  He thanked Council and Administration for working on the matter, and the representatives from the Greater Essex County District School Board for their efforts. He added the School Board sold the facility and property for a fair price for today’s value.

  As of right now, there are no official plans for the building and property, however, there is $60,000 in the 2022 Budget, which still needs to be approved, to look at assessing the building.

  Previously, however, Councillor Sherry Bondy – Harrow’s representative on Essex Council - has said prior to this event the people in Harrow and Colchester want the same access to programs and facilities that other Wards in the municipality have.

  Snively said any decisions on the matter would likely be up to the next Term of Council.

  Youths and educators at the Harrow Day Care were invited to participate in the celebration. Youth Worker Karen DaSilva expressed excitement for the purchase, noting being located so close to the greenspace, there are always people utilizing the area.

  “This is so important to us and the children,” she said.   

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