Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze & Observer 08-08-2019

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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2 SMITHFIELD AUGUST 8-14, 2019 | VALLEY BREEZE & OBSERVER | SMITHFIELD SCITUATE FOSTER GLOCESTER EDITION SMITHFIELD – Little progress seems to have been made during last Tuesday's work session of the East Smithfield Community Center Building Committee and the Town Council. Members on both boards remain optimistic that renovations can be performed to return the building to its former splendor as a community center providing services to Esmond. The center has been closed since 2017 due to a list of deficiencies and safety issues. The East Smithfield Community Center Building Committee was tasked with coming up with a plan to restore the building while preserving its historical signifi- cance. Robert Leach, member of the Smithfield Historic Preservation Commission and the Building Committee, kicked off the work ses- sion with a presentation of architec- tural designs for multiple concepts for the future layout of the center. "What we looked at was different tasks and parts of the project," Leach said during the meeting. "What I'm presenting is possible paths and solu- tions for those tasks." After a contentious work ses- sion last month that led the former Smithfield Historic Preservation Commission Chairwoman Katie Law to resign, Leach said he was happy to see everyone on board with getting the center back online. Plans include returning a food pantry back to the center from the Smithfield Senior Center, add- ing new offices for the Recreation Department, and adding rooms for private functions or town meetings. During the work session, council member Maxine Cavanagh said that the residents of Esmond have the greatest need for a community center. "I think it would be a great service to the area," she said. Cavanagh said Esmond residents have said a sewer plant and Esmond Village, the affordable housing com- plex, are the only amenities the town has given Esmond. "I support the opening of the East Smithfield Neighborhood Center. It is about time that the residents of Esmond are not forgotten," Cavanagh said in an email. Cavanagh said she hopes it can become a place for the town's youth to gather as well. Building Committee member and Smithfield Parks and Recreation Director Robert Caine agreed. "I hope that the other Town Council members will join me in opening back this valuable historic building," Cavanagh said. While Council President Suzy Alba said she was on board with preserving the historic aspects of the building, Councilor Sean Kilduff said he does not believe the building is historic. Alba said she met with the Rhode Island Historic Preservation and Heritage Commission's state historic preservation officer J. Paul Loether, who said the center was a "historic gem." The center is also on Smithfield's registry of historic places. Alba said she is confident the town can gain funding through grants to help pay for the restoration of the center, in addition to the $126,000 the town has set aside. For now, the building remains untouched as the town continues to decide on architectural designs for the neighborhood center. Progress still slow for renovation of East Smithfield Neighborhood Center By JACQUELYN MOOREHEAD Valley Breeze & Observer Staff Writer BREEZE PHOTO BY JACQUELYN MOOREHEAD East Smithfield Neighborhood Center Building Committee member and architect ROBERT LEACH went through multiple possible renditions of the future layout for the community center last Tuesday. Dolan named Nuala Pell Leadership fellow SMITHFIELD – Michaela Dolan, of Greenville, has been named a fel- low in the Nuala Pell Leadership Program at the Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy at Salve Regina University. Dolan is a junior elementary and special education major at Salve Regina and is one of 10 fellows that have been selected for the Nuala Pell Leadership Program for the 2019- 2020 academic year. The program is named in honor of the wife of U.S. Senator Claiborne Pell and facilitates leadership devel- opment through the exploration of leadership theory, ethics, evolution of public issues and what it takes to be a leader in the public sector. Each student will also shadow a local leader involved in various segments of the public sector and will travel to Washington, D.C., in the spring of 2020 to meet with Congressional leaders, policy makers, and others. IN BRIEF LIBRARY NEWS DOLAN Summer Reading Celebration Friday SMITHFIELD – East Smithfield Public Library, 50 Esmond St., will host its End of the Summer Reading Program Celebration on Friday, Aug. 9, from noon to 1 p.m. Visit the library for pizza, lemon- ade, popsicles, and fun. For more information or to register, call the library at 401-231-5150. Place your classified ad online at

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