On Tuesday, Sept. 13, the Town of North Kingstown will ask voters to vote on three questions: two (Questions #2 and #3) will concern the Wickford Elementary School property.
Question # 2 asks approval to finance $3.85 million for reuse of Wickford Elementary School (WES) for a . I write on behalf of the board of Historic Wickford, Inc. We are concerned that two historic structures in Wickford Village will become vacant if this plan to relocate the is approved. While we believe that the relocation and consolidation project could benefit the town, we cannot support the referendum until the following questions are answered.
- What will become of the two vacated buildings? The on Boston Neck Road and the on Brown Street are iconic, historic buildings that have served the public well, and are recognized statewide as significant historic structures.
- What will be the net impact of two vacant buildings on town finances? What will be the costs and benefits of the two options - selling or leasing these unused buildings?
- How much will it cost to maintain these buildings while awaiting new occupants?
- What will happen to their historic value should the buildings be sold?
In response to our inquiries, the town indicated that they hope to lease the buildings. However, bonding for the proposed conversion of WES includes no provision for financing the costs associated with establishing reuses of these venerable and worthy buildings that contribute to the historic and cultural character of North Kingstown.
Question # 3 on the ballot will be: Yes/No allow North Kingstown Town Council to sell the former Wickford Elementary School.
We encourage you to vote NO on Question #3, the sale of the Wickford Elementary School property. We believe that the sale of this strategically located property, which is of great historic significance, and has potential future benefit to our community, is unwise, short-sighted and unsupportable.
We are equally concerned that voters will be asked to vote on a proposed conversion project that does not include a viable reuse plan for our invaluable historic buildings, and ask you to seriously consider this omission when voting.
Historic Wickford, Inc.
Michael J. Dacey, President