Future Use Of The Quonnie Grange May Be At Risk

We received the following message from Charlestown residents, Richard and Diana Sartor, about the possible loss of the Quonnie Grange.
A public meeting on this topic is scheduled as follows:
Tuesday, April 14 at 6:00 pm
Dunns Corner Fire Headquarters
1 Langworthy Rd., Westerly

This letter was addressed to Dunns Corner Fire District Moderator, Fire Chief, Operating Committee and District officers.

It has recently come to our attention that the Dunns Corner fire district may be considering closure of the Quonochontaug Grange hall to the public uses that exist there. The Quonnie Grange has become and is an important part of the Charlestown community and serves as a part of the cohesive social fabric of our town . The Dunns Corner Fire District has provided and is commended for providing this service to the Charlestown community, making the hall available for events, public and private, in the best historic tradition of the volunteer fire service in New England.

It is known that there is a maintenance problem with a broken water main, which insurance may cover, and also concern that the Grange expenses exceed the revenue which DCFD receives from its rental. It is rumored to be approximately $10,000 per year, as an expense to DCFD, in providing this facility to the community. Maintenance of the building is critical to its continued use as the landmark facility in our community.

The DCFD taxes each of the properties in the Districts area of Charlestown, and due to the high assessed values, receives significant funding from Charlestown residents, serving also to keep fire taxes lower in neighboring communities and towns. The benefit to these residents very clearly includes the fire service protection but also includes the Quonnie Grange hall as an important part of our identity, and as a central focus of our community. To lose that identity and usage would, diminish the value which the DCFD has provided, and which hopefully, the DCFD will reaffirm, by continued support. The cost is not insurmountable and is supported by our tax dollars. If the DCFD wishes, community members would be willing to meet with DCFD representatives to discuss the Grange and facilitate continued community use.

Some of the events which would be negatively impacted include: Election voting, community meetings, political events, Scout meetings, Exercise programs, Children’s dances and activities, association meetings, Garden sales,and more, all of which embody the sense of civic pride and service in which the Dunns Corners Fire District is a partner.

A number of residents are aware of the April 14, 2015 meeting at 6:00 pm at the Dunns Corner Fire Headquarters 1 Langworthy Rd., Westerly and will attend to speak in favor of, and requesting that our Fire District continue its historic role of maintaining a strong sense of community ,by providing the Quonochontaug Grange for community use. If there are other meetings to discuss this buildings future usage, it is requested that public notice be made and publicized so that interested residents may be aware and attend.