Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Cumberland Lincoln 07-12-2018

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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CUMBERLAND LINCOLN EDITION | VALLEY BREEZE | JULY 12-18, 2018 CUMBERLAND / LINCOLN 5 unmarked headstone and engraved footstone, plus the decayed outline of a wooden casket – but no skeletal remains. "As far as this former grave goes, it's all clear," Chartier said. "We will advise the state that as far as we are concerned, (Belshe) is fine to con- tinue construction." Chartier said he would advise Belshe to have an archaeological monitor on the site during future work to be sure nothing else is uncovered. "There is always a possibility of unmarked burials in the lot," he added, noting that his company's per- mit limited his investigation to one grave shaft. "I don't know how far the cemetery extends outside of its current borders." The possibility of additional burials was echoed by state officials, includ- ing Jeffrey Emidy, Acting Executive Director of the RIHPHC and deputy state historic preservation officer, who said there are areas of the parcel that "have not been excavated to examine them for unmarked burials. It remains possible that unmarked burials may be present in the unexcavated areas." Blackstone Valley Historical Society's Cemetery Coordinator Ken Postle said BVHS strongly suspects the presence of other burials. Chartier said property owners can learn a lesson from the case. "Those who own a lot nearby a historic cemetery should keep in mind that historic cemeteries have ill- defined borders. Just because there's a fence doesn't mean the border is the same that it once was." The state is expected to recom- mend that construction of the house be allowed to proceed. With state approval, the project will be back on as planned. CEMETERY From Page 3 Mayor: If schools want properties near McCourt, they should buy them CUMBERLAND – If school officials wish to keep a collection of six properties near McCourt Middle School from being sold off, they should buy them, says Mayor Bill Murray. But School Committee Chairman Raymond Salvatore says the schools don't own real estate, nor are they in the business of purchas- ing properties. "All our properties are essentially town properties," he said. On June 14, the school board voted against approving the sale of the six properties by the town to other entities, saying some should be retained for use by students and others should be held onto for potential future use by the schools. Murray had asked the committee to consider the impact of the sale of certain properties around McCourt. The mayor says his administra- tion is still reviewing the matter as he waits on the Town Council to say what should ultimately happen to the lots in question. Salvatore is correct that school properties are technically the town's, says Murray, and the council will ultimately have to weigh in on the issue. Jay Masterson, principal at McCourt, attended the June 14 meeting to say his "biggest concern" was keeping four properties along Clairmont Street for use by students. Several years ago, representatives for Up with People volunteered to help develop cross-country trails through the properties, he said, a project supported by town workers, and the properties the town is looking to sell are "directly in the path of the back of the cross-country trail." The schools can't move the trail back because doing so would vio- late Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management regula- tions, he said. In a letter responding to Assistant Solicitor Chris Alger's request to consider the impact of selling the properties, Salvatore said the school board placed the matter on the June 14 agenda for "discussion and/ or vote on whether to approve the sale of such parcels by the town of Cumberland." Salvatore noted that Masterson advised the committee that McCourt uses all four parcels on Clairmont Street for running trails and general use by students. "Selling this land would have a significant, negative impact on the quality of student life at the school," he wrote. He noted that Masterson also advised the committee that if a home is built on a plot abutting the school, on Highland Avenue, it would likely block the view of the school from the road, "creating a significant security concern." "It is worth noting that Dr. Masterson plays a key role on the school department's school safety team," said Salvatore. The sale of that lot would be particularly problematic because it directly abuts the access road to and from the school, he said. Committee members initially indi- cated on June 14 that they would be OK with selling a second lot behind McCourt, with Paul DiModica saying it's a small lot that serves little or no purpose, but other members then said it would be nice to at least maintain the potential to convert it into another access point in the future. Salvatore wrote that selling that property would limit a potential future egress from the school, "which may be an important part of a future safety plan." Masterson had not recommended keeping that lot, saying other than some "sentimental value for people who attended the school in the 1980s and 1990s, due to the stairs on the property, it doesn't hold much value. "We don't dispute that sale," he said. But the committee voted to retain the lot. Murray announced in February that he was looking to sell 12 town lots in the neighborhood of McCourt, six on Crowell Street, the four on Clairmont, and the two on Highland Avenue, all to generate revenue to the town. The committee voted not to approve the sale of the two on Highland or the four on Clairmont "because of the significant concerns expressed by Principal Masterson, all of which resonated with the com- mittee," said Salvatore. The commit- tee took no action on the Crowell Street lots At that June 14 meeting, commit- tee member Steve Hess commended the administration for reaching out about the properties. Hess had been a proponent of the town keeping all but the Crowell Street properties. Salvatore said last week that the schools "haven't purchased any land that I know of" during his years in Cumberland. As an additional point, the Cumberland School Department is not a revenue-generating entity, he said, and can't simply use money from a fund balance, as the mayor has done with other purchases, to buy up properties. "We're not in the real estate mar- ket," he said. "(We're looking out for the) best interest of the schools, not selling property to make money." By ETHAN SHOREY Valley Breeze Managing Editor ethan@valleybreeze.com RIDE serving up free meals for kids in Cumberland The Rhode Island Department of Education has kicked off its annual Summer Meals program, offering free meals for children and teens at several community sites across the state. No identification or paperwork is necessary to receive a free meal, available for any person under the age of 18. The program operates roughly 200 sites across 15 local communities. The following sites are serving up meals in Cumberland: • Bradley School North, 7 Fatima Drive (Monday through Friday, 8-8:30 a.m. and 11:30 to noon, until Aug. 16.) • Blackstone Valley Prep Elementary School, 291 Broad St. (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, 8:15-8:45 a.m. and noon to 12:30 p.m.; July 17 to Aug. 9) • Blackstone Valley Prep High School, 65 Macondray St. (Monday through Thursday, 7:30-8 a.m. and noon to 12:30 p.m. until Aug. 2) The federal summer nutrition program is funded by the USDA and administered by the Rhode Island Department of Education. An area is eligible to open a site if at least 50 percent of the enrolled children in that district are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. Last summer, 470,000 meals were served to children across the state. For more information, call the United Way information line: 211. SALVATORE MASTERSON

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