Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Woonsocket North Smithfield 06-25-2020

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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NO. SMITHFIELD BLACKSTONE WOONSOCKET | VALLEY BREEZE | JUNE 25-JULY 1, 2020 NO. SMITHFIELD / WOONSOCKET 5 NORTH SMITHFIELD – Construction has officially begun on what will soon become Rhode Island's largest solar farm, a 38.4-megawatt array located between Iron Mine Hill Road and Route 146. By the time the farm is completed next year, the array will include 122,000 solar panels spread out over a 160-acre fenced-in area. About 185 acres of trees were cleared for the project, which is located on a site of more than 400 acres. In addition to being the largest solar farm in Rhode Island when it's completed, Mark DePasquale, found- er and CEO of North Kingstown- based Green Development, said it's the largest project the company has ever taken on. "This is one of the biggest projects in New England," he said. Though the company only received its official signoff from the Planning Board earlier this month, tree clear- ing for the project began late last year after the company obtained a forestry permit from the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management. DePasquale said all clearing and stumping has been com- pleted and the next step is grading, which is expected to include blasting on the property. Last Thursday, members of the town Planning Board and Conservation Commission took a tour of the site, including the foun- dation of a historic farmhouse that once belonged to the Mowry family. The foundation, which was not men- tioned in an initial archaeological survey earlier this year, later became a source of debate after board mem- ber and North Smithfield Heritage Association President Richard Keene pointed out its existence and lobbied for its preservation. The company has agreed to pre- serve the foundation and a 25-foot area around it. Despite the tour being listed as a public meeting, Green Development declined to allow reporters on the property, citing concerns about liabil- ity and the wishes of the landowner, Ralph Ferra. DePasquale and Green Development Engineering Director Kevin Morin answered questions at the entrance to the site, saying they were excited to begin construction. "It's a long project. We're happy that it's done, it's going to be good for the town," said DePasquale, referring to the project's 27-month approval process, which began in March 2018. DePasquale said the company has hired about 20 new employees to work on the project, with approxi- mately 27 on site last week. At its peak, he said, the project will require between 200 and 300 employees on the property daily after panel installa- tion begins in the fall. The solar farm is scheduled to go online by October 2021. Work underway on R.I.'s largest solar farm By LAUREN CLEM Valley Breeze Staff Writer lauren@valleybreeze.com BREEZE PHOTO BY LAUREN CLEM Construction has begun on the new solar farm off IRON MINE HILL ROAD, which is scheduled to go online in October 2021. So many papers, so little investment. To advertise, call Diane at 334-9555, x142 Police spend $24K on 'riot gear' amid unrest WOONSOCKET – The Woonsocket Police Department ear- lier this month purchased $24,405 worth of helmets, shields and other protective equipment for officers, citing the growing unrest in some parts of the country. Deputy Chief Michael Lemoine said the purchase was made fol- lowing the looting and violence that happened in Providence on June 2. The Woonsocket Police Department, he said, sent three offi- cers to assist with the Providence police response and did not have proper safety equipment for them. At the time, rumors abounded that similar unrest occur in to Woonsocket. Those rumors proved false, but Lemoine said the depart- ment felt it needed to have equip- ment on hand. "In my (nearly) 30 years as a Woonsocket police officer, I've never had to don such equipment," Lemoine told The Breeze on June 12. "And I was happy to see that nothing came of the social media chatter and hype of last week. However, it did show an area where we lacked protective/defen- sive equipment for the officers." The decision drew some criticism on social media as protesters in various parts of the country called for a decrease in funding to police. Lemoine said the term "riot gear," used in a City Council ordinance related to the purchase, has a negative connotation, and described the purchase as "protec- tive equipment" for officers. The funds were originally sup- posed to come out of the city's contingency fund, but Lemoine said the department withdrew that request last week after realizing they had enough funds to purchase the equipment out of their existing budget for public safety supplies. Woonsocket Education announces Summer Food Program WOONSOCKET – The Woonsocket Education Department is providing free meals to children during the summer at the following sites: • Hamlet Middle School, 60 Florence Drive • Kevin K. Coleman Elementary School, 92 Second Ave. • Citizens Memorial Elementary School, 250 Winthrop St. • Harris Elementary School, 60 High School St. Each site is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Meals are distributed on Monday for Monday and Tuesday; Wednesday for Wednesday and Thursday; and Friday for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. There are no income require- ments or registration. Any child or youth age 18 years old or younger may come to eat. For more information, contact Carolyn Girard cgirard1@woon- socketschools.com. For more infor- mation about the national Summer Food Service Program, visit www. fns.usda.gov/cnd/summer. Request for Professional Services e Woonsocket Housing Authority, Woonsocket, RI will receive proposals for "Professional Services for Pest Control" for all seven properties for up to a three-year period. e submission date is ursday, July 23, 2020 at 2:00 pm. at the Woonsocket Housing Authority at 679 Social Street, Woonsocket, RI 02895. e RFP package will be available on line at www.woonsockethousing.org in Bid Opportunities under the Procurement heading. Questions regarding this proposal may be directed to Susan Castrataro at 401-767-8062 or Scastrataro@woonsockethousing.org. Robert Moreau, Executive Director "An Equal Employment Opportunity/ Affirmative Action Employer" TDD 1-800-745-6575

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