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Letter to the Editor: HistWick Asks NK to Vote 'No' on Question 3

HistWick President Mike Dacey urges voters to vote no on question three in tomorrow's special election.

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. 

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Historic Wickford, Inc.

Michael J. Dacey, President

NKGOP Watch September 13, 2011 at 05:22 AM
Histwick historically connected to the NKGOP members who gave us Halley, wrecked our schools, and slaughtered Wickford Elementary, now are whining? Make the bed, lie in it. With dolan and hueston et al in there, if MCDONALDS laid enough cash on the table thats what would be inside the "Greek Revival" - WITH drive through. And throw in a huge wind turbine. The NK repugnicans have wrecked a nice little town. Now it's end-game time. Get it?
In the Interest of Fairness September 13, 2011 at 08:06 AM
Would you sell your house at the bottom of the market? Don't sell Wickford Elementary School. But don't renovate it now, either. Let's get our financial house in order, first. Preserve what increases the value of our homes. Wait to renovate when the economy recovers. Also vote no to artificial turf. It doesn't serve the greater good of the community. It's a luxury that we can't afford...especially now.
Govstench September 13, 2011 at 11:11 AM
Question 2 is way over-priced. I am sure this retro work could be done for far less than what is being quoted here. Who’s pocket is being greased on this one? Municipalities are coming under closer scrutiny with their bonded indebtedness and as you probably already know, certain municipalities are facing serious downgrades due to exposure to pension liabilities. Where is North Kingstown in that regard? Also I don’t remember the Town Manager ever issuing a financial impact statement on each bond proposal and how that will affect the tax rate to the town. Where is he with this?
Govstench September 13, 2011 at 11:12 AM
Regarding Question 3 - the sale of the school, I do agree that the sooner this building is put back on the tax roll, the better it will be for the town. However, if I read this proposal to sell correctly, there is no guidance as to what the town would like that property to be used for, what will the criteria be for the sale, i.e., financing?? , and what price has been set for the building. The question is giving the town council way too much power with this. Unfortunately I have no confidence in the present leadership of this council to do the right thing. To those who feel this is a bad time to sell real estate, the town has to weigh whether it makes economic sense to keep maintaining a building at approximately $50,000 a year and watch it continue to erode for lack of use, or sell it and get the property back on the tax rolls. We will never see real estate values of the early 2000's in our lifetime. It’s time to cut the losses and make some financial decisions on what is good for the town, not for sentimental reasons.
NKMom September 13, 2011 at 02:33 PM
"It’s time to cut the losses and make some financial decisions on what is good for the town, not for sentimental reasons." "Good for the town" is to preserve the historic nature and beauty of Wickford. It is a huge draw for new residents and visitors. It is the reason many people want to live in NK. These iconic buildings should be preserved -- either privately through sale restrictions on future use or by the Town. It is what is good for the Town. As my grandparents said, sometimes you have to spend money to make money and while money may be tight, this is not time to be penny wise and pound foolish. I'd love to see people and politicians in this town work together to make some positive change. All the infighting is ugly and definitely not "what is good for the town." Leadership, we need leadership and right now, I don't see many politicians in office leading or working on "what is good for the town."
NKGOP Watch September 13, 2011 at 02:33 PM
Five years ago IIRC, I received a flyer from the now-defunct NKTO, and NK ranked 3rd HIGHEST per-capita indebtedness of all RI cities and towns! I wonder where we stand today... and where will we stand with this additional debt the town council wants to take on. Wickford should never have been closed, it added character to the village of Wickford, which is becoming a stepford-wives facade of a once-vibrant past. A museum. With lots of old people and women painted up like they think they are still 20. Go back in time and you'll see a local polulation of all ages and walks of life and a local economy, people who live ther and talk on the street. Now we have well preserved buildings, not so well preserved old wanna-be's (from out of town) and NO LOCAL CULTURE. So it doesnt matter what happens next, NK was ruined by the blow-ins and carpet baggers like Dolan and Hueston et al.
Govstench September 13, 2011 at 05:00 PM
There is supposed to be a North Kingstown Taxpayer Group headed by a McGwin. There has been no comment from that group on these bond issues. If that is supposed to be viable taxpayer group, there should be some comment as it does impact the taxpayers of this town. Where are they?
Midlife Momma September 13, 2011 at 07:38 PM
When Muriel Camarra was the head of the NKTO, the taxpayer org. you are refering to Govstench, she was always on top of educating the public about whatever bond was up for a vote. Whether the group backed a bond not, she was a person who stood for being informed. This NKTO, with McGwin as the head, is nothing more than something he uses as a title for himself...."NKTO President".....what the heck does that mean??!! Too bad McGwin and company didnt say ANYTHING about this bond-the group should have at least made people aware of the voting day......
mark henricks September 13, 2011 at 08:05 PM
the old town hall is obsolete. i'd rather see the town hall and school dept in the new renovated building. i would like to see the building remain with the town. but if question 2 is voted no then i voted yes on 3. the building will only continue to deteriorate.
Govstench September 13, 2011 at 10:06 PM
That is too bad. This is a good sounding board for this group to come out on. I believe the taxpayers will get it right but it draws serious questions as to the validity of this group.
NK WATCH September 14, 2011 at 02:42 AM
Midlife momma, Mcgwin is nothing more than a blow hard, he has no ideas of his own and does nothing but sit back and critizes other peoples ideas. He's too spineless to challenge his beloved town council.......he didn't say boo about the windmill or the other bond referendums last year......Mcgwin wouldn't have been good enough to shine murial's shoes!

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