Getting Started at Ninigret Park

The following letter  is shared with us by the authors George Tremblay and Virginia Lee. Mr. Tremblay and Ms. Lee are members of the Charlestown Town Council.


In June, voters overwhelmingly approved a $1 million bond to fund improvements to Ninigret Park. While voters agreed with the need for improvements, they were not given a spending plan to accompany the plea for public funds. Estimates for funding the Master Plan for Ninigret Park run to more than $15 million. We have bonding authority for $1 million.   Where do we start?

Many people have an interest in one or another specific improvement to the park. Competing interests threaten to stall implementation of the Master Plan. When the Parks and Recreation Commission distributed a memo indicating consensus among its members on some common goals, we saw an opportunity to bring the Town Council and the Parks and Recreation Commission into alignment. The background and motion approved by the Town Council on August 17, follows:

We (Tremblay and Lee) were much encouraged by the 30 July 2015 memo from the Parks and Recreation Commission, describing elements of consensus among its members on the Ninigret Park Master Plan. We seek to meet that effort with Council agreement on certain of the consensus goals articulated by the Parks and Recreation Commission. Specifically, the Town Council agrees with the Parks and Recreation Commission that:
  1. the group should avoid delay likely to result from attempts to review and rank all improvements proposed for the park, collectively, in the Master Plan,
  2.  a few of the highest priority projects should be identified and ranked for action,
  3. the group should work to implement the Master Plan according to planned priorities, one goal at a time,
  4. contentious elements of the Plan should be set aside as placeholders, and
  5. the Master Plan is “a living document”, subject to change.

We do not agree that acceptance of the proposed 2014 revisions is essential to initiating work on the park. Acceptance of the 2008 Master Plan as a living document by both the Parks and Recreation Commission and the Town Council, and acceptance by both bodies of certain sections of the Master Plan as dormant placeholders, offer ample opportunity to integrate elements of the proposed 2014 revisions as the occasion arises.

We hope this common ground advances improvements in the Park, and we suggest starting with the most attractive of the least controversial elements of the Master Plan.

Motion:

We move (Tremblay) and second (Lee) that the above statement be approved to indicate areas of consensus between the Town Council and the Parks and Recreation Commission for implementing improvements in Ninigret Park, and request an advisory from the Parks and Recreation Commission for initiating action in accord with this consensus.

The above background statement and motion were accepted as factual by the Chair of the Parks and Recreation Commission, and approved by unanimous vote of the Town Council. It is reproduced here to so inform the public.

George Tremblay and Virginia Lee

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George Tremblay
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Virginia Lee