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  • Larry Mandel

Town Council meeting 3/27/23



The March 27 Town Council meeting was well-attended by the public, and several important

and timely issues were discussed. Among other highlights, Mary Worobec made an

impassioned and eloquent statement about the need for town properties to be constructed

using net zero methods, high school senior Becky Foley was approved to create a “beach

library” for toys this summer as her senior project, and the town manager was authorized to

enter into a contract for legal representation in a claim against chemical companies that

manufacture PFAS contaminants.


The Town Manager and the Recreation Director made a presentation about building an

indoor recreation center, reviewing the large number of properties that have been

considered as possible sites and what facilities would be included in a center. An active

committee has been working on this project for some two years, and has come up with

three possible sites: one in Quonset near the playing fields, one at Davisville Academy

(assuming the School Department gives up the property), and a privately owned site on or

near Post Road. There are also other possibilities that could arise over the coming months,

so no final recommendation has been made. The proposed center would include four

basketball courts (with multiple uses, including volleyball and pickleball) as well as meeting

rooms, exercise facilities, changing rooms, etc. (see below for discussion of including a

swimming pool). The Council encouraged the further development of a proposal, which

would be the subject of a decision at an upcoming Council meeting for consideration of a

bond issue. Meanwhile the town continues to seek additional funding sources for such a

center.


Another major discussion concerned the need for a new Public Safety Complex to house

the Police, Fire and Emergency Communications facilities. The Fire Chief and Police

Captain explained that our current facilities are inadequate and spoke of some of the

limitations moving forward, including the need to locate any new facility on or near the

current location due to react time requirements, continuity during construction, etc. All the

members of the Council agreed on the urgent need for a new facility and asked the Town

Manager to further develop a proposal for a potential bond referendum.


During the public comment section, which came at the beginning of the meeting, a number

of people spoke in favor of building an indoor recreation center, and most spoke in support

of including a swimming pool as part of the project. The Town Manager explained that while

he too would love to see a pool, he had concerns regarding the construction expense,

additional land that would be required, the ongoing cost of maintenance, and the potential

problem of finding lifeguards. In response to community interest, the Council asked the

Town Manager to develop further information about the financial aspects of including a pool

in any potential rec center. While Council members had concerns about the financial

aspects, we considered the possibility of adding an additional bond question on that specific

aspect of a rec center.


As always, a video of the Meeting can be viewed on the Town’s website.

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