To the Editor,
I read with great interest David Palazzetti’s letter to the editor last week (March 11th). I’ve been following this story over the past few weeks, and I hadn’t known, until now, the full financial aspects of the project, which are quite disconcerting. The loss and replacement of the trails and disc golf holes is of concern to all of us who use the area regularly, particularly since replacement has not been committed to, nor, most likely, adequately budgeted for. However, I’m also concerned about the loss of more woodland habitat in South Kingstown.
The area is a perfect example of how our residents and wildlife can peacefully coexist. In addition to the usual predators and prey living on the woodland floor, I have seen owls and hawks on our trail walks, and egrets and herons around the pond. It’s easy to overlook this aspect of the proposed project; but, as time goes on, we are losing more and more of this precious resource. Within a mile of the school site, also on Curtis Corner Rd., already one development project site has been clear-cut; and if final approval is granted, a 34-house development site will also be clear-cut, right down the street from the school.
One point of hope is that, upon request, the Town’s Conservation Commission is now being brought in for an advisory opinion. How much weight their opinion will be given remains to be seen. But, it is up to all of us to be diligent in our public scrutiny of this project. Is it the best site? Who will be making the final determination on remaining at Columbia St. or coming to Curtis Corner? What liability will we citizens assume for cost overruns? If it is to be the Curtis Corner site, can the building be reconfigured vertically, to reduce the footprint?
Certainly, this proposed project has myriad problems that need to be worked out among the greatest number of people possible. Stay tuned, stay vigilant.
These comments are mine alone, and are not meant to represent the views of the S.K. Conservation Commission, of which I am a member.
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