Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Woonsocket North Smithfield 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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NORTH SMITHFIELD BLACKSTONE WOONSOCKET EDITION | VALLEY BREEZE | JULY 12-18, 2018 NORTH SMITHFIELD 3 NORTH SMITHFIELD – Behind the Municipal Annex on Smithfield Road sits a vacant lot about 80 feet wide and 300 feet long. While the overgrown space doesn't look like much, local residents remember when the lot was a playground known as Bushee Park, a neighbor- hood gathering place serving several generations of children and their families. Thanks to an outdoor recre- ation grant from the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, the lot could once again return to its former status as a public park, but residents are con- cerned that delays from town officials have prevented the project from get- ting off the ground. One of those residents is Tom Guay, a former Town Council mem- ber who grew up down the street from the former park. After marrying his wife, Donna, he returned to the neighborhood to raise his family and said he has countless memories of fre- quenting the park as both a child and a parent during his 50 years living in the neighborhood. "There was a big steel slide in the far corner. There were seesaws, there were monkey bars," he recalled. Now, the lot sits empty except for a neighbor's camper parked in a cor- ner and a flattened area at the center that once housed plastic preschool play equipment, removed sometime last year. According to residents, a metal fence around the park was never replaced after it was damaged by snowplows, and, in recent years, J. H. Lynch and Sons Construction used the park to store equipment when the company did work on the nearby Park Avenue intersection. A Google Maps street view shows there used to be a yellow sign read- ing "Playground" on an adjacent telephone pole, but the sign has since been removed, replaced with one that reads "Dead end." According to Guay, it's a sad lack of upkeep for public property in a neighborhood that's seen a return of young families in recent years. While some homeowners, such as he Residents still awaiting improvements at Bushee Park By LAUREN CLEM Valley Breeze Staff Writer BREEZE PHOTOS BY LAUREN CLEM TOM GUAY, a resident of Walsh Avenue, grew up playing at the former Bushee Park playground behind the Municipal Annex. In 2016, the town was awarded a DEM outdoor recreation grant for improvements at the now vacant lot, but residents are concerned that delays by town officials mean the project has not gotten off the ground. BUSHEE PARK, located behind the town Municipal Annex on Smithfield Road, was once a neighborhood gathering place with a large playground. In 2016, the town was awarded a DEM outdoor recreation grant to establish a bike and walking trail at the park, but residents are concerned that delays by town officials mean the project has not yet begun. and his wife, are empty-nesters who have called the close-knit neighbor- hood behind the Municipal Annex home for decades, newer families are beginning to move into the area, including a couple on the block who have four young children. Guay said he often sees the children playing in the street and wishes they had a place to go, as he did when he was a child. "It's returning to its days of old. Except for this thing," he said, refer- ring to the park. See PARK, Page 10 CORRECTION In my column last week, I referred to Woonsocket mayoral candidate Al Brien as an attorney. He is a longtime real estate apprais- er and former member of the state House of Representatives. I apolo- gize for my error. - Tom Ward Breeze publisher do you know? You're holding 1 newspaper, but we fi ll 5 every week! They're all at Smiles Orthodontic Treatments for Children, Teens and Adults Specializing in Special Health Care Needs 2359 Mendon Road, Cumberland, RI 401-334-3070 Nicholas A. Lavoie D.D.S., M.P.H., M.A. Pediatric Dentist Benjamin Chan D.M.D., M.S. Orthodontist GREAT VALUE QUALITY SERVICE 36 BLACKSTONE STREET WOONSOCKET 401-766-3270 WWW.TERRYAUTOLTD.COM Gil & Meika RI State Inspection $55 2014 FORD ESCAPE SE Loaded, 1 owner, 18K .......................................$17,495 2011 HYUNDAI SONATA HYBRID LOADED! 70K miles ................................................$9,999 2010 FORD EDGE AWD, Loaded, 90K ..................................................$8,999 2008 TOYOTA RAV 4 AWD, 80K ..............................................................$8,999 Paid for by Keven A. McKenna 182 School Street, Lincoln, RI 02802 Elect McKENNA Democrat Senator District 17 • Eliminate Life Terms For Judges • No Removal of Child From Mother • Protect Due Process

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