by Joe Fitzgerald
Take our word but not our numbers, Bluestone Town Center (BTC) backers seem to say
The moral of this story is: what the City Council doesn’t know won’t hurt the HRHA.
When I first heard about the scope of the BTC, I did some quick arithmetic and came up with an astronomical estimate of how many new K-12 students it would generate. I was wrong; the total was merely stratospheric.
Perhaps unwilling to accept the blog post of an ex-mayor, HCPS created its own model and discovered my revised numbers were pretty close. (For the record, proving me right is not why they created it.) They came up with a model that said 322 new students.
Worth noting, HCPS provided two sets of numbers. One was if they applied their model to 900 new housing units in Harrisonburg, and the second if they applied it to 900 in the southwest corner of town. The difference wasn’t significant. What was significant was the effort to share all relevant information.
In October, HRHA pointed out to HCPS that 60 of its units were for seniors, so HCPS reconfigured the estimate. (Because there’s a hell of a lot of H’s in this history, let me help: HRHA is Harrisonburg Redevelopment Housing Authority, and HCPS is still Harrisonburg City Public Schools. HRHA is partnered with EquityPlus, or EP, to apply for a rezoning to build BTC.)
The new estimate from HCPS was down to 273. A little more than half an elementary school.