Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Woonsocket North Smithfield 11-19-2020

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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6 NORTH SMITHFIELD NOVEMBER 19-25, 2020 | VALLEY BREEZE | NORTH SMITHFIELD BLACKSTONE WOONSOCKET EDITION 6 NORTH SMITHFIELD – Town officials took steps forward this week on two major projects that could potentially shape the town's building and planning priorities for years to come. On Monday, town councilors voted to move forward with an architectural assessment of the for- mer Halliwell Memorial School site. The town will pay $83,569 to the firm Weston & Sampson to evaluate the property and determine its potential uses as a municipal resource. "Frankly, I'm excited to move forward and begin this process under the direction of the planner to engage Weston & Sampson and start the process to evaluate this site and give us options," said Town Administrator Gary Ezovski, who recommended the firm. In August, the town sent out a request for quotations for consultants to evaluate the property. Ezovski noted that two other firms also responded, but their applications focused more on other uses for the site rather than the municipal uses favored by most residents and town officials. "To start this process, the most important step is to get a consultant engaged," he said. The evaluation will build on more than a year of discussion of what to do with the Halliwell property after the former elementary school closed in 2019. Many town officials, includ- ing incoming Town Administrator Paul Zwolenski, have expressed pub- lic support for turning the site into a community center that includes resources for seniors. Councilors did not respond to a memo from the North Smithfield Planning Board requesting oversight of the public hearing portion of the project as described in the RFQ for the consultant. As member Jeffrey Porter explained during the meet- ing, the Planning Board recently discussed having some role in the project until such a time as the coun- cil forms a separate committee to oversee it. "We want to make sure that we step off on the right foot for the proj- ect," he said. During the same meeting, coun- cilors also voted to move forward with design services for the Branch Village Redevelopment District, a project funded by a $100,000 grant from the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation in February. The town plans to engage BETA Group for $40,000 to begin work on a pre- application to create access to a parcel of land behind Branch Village from Pound Hill Road. "What we're looking at here is try- ing to fill out the marketing profile of what this land is," said Ezovski. Though the land is privately owned, Ezovski and other town officials have supported an effort to market it as a potential development property to increase the town's com- mercial tax base. Once complete, the engineering services would offer a head start to any company looking to develop the parcel as an office or manufacturing use. Council approves historic preservation ordinance In an unrelated matter, coun- cilors also voted unanimously on Monday to approve a new program that offers tax incentives for pres- ervation of historic properties. The program, proposed by the North Smithfield Heritage Association and the North Smithfield Historic District Commission earlier this year, is designed to incentivize homeowners to improve their historic properties rather than tear them down. Town officials made several changes to the program since it was first proposed in the spring, ultimately approving a modified version on Monday. Town moving forward on Halliwell, Branch Village projects By LAUREN CLEM Valley Breeze Staff Writer lauren@valleybreeze.com BREEZE PHOTO BY LAUREN CLEM Town officials are engaging a consultant to evaluate the future uses of the former HALLIWELL SCHOOL PROPERTY. NSHA calendars are available for sale NORTH SMITHFIELD – The North Smithfield Heritage Association announces that its 2021 calendar is currently available for sale. Calendars are available for $15 at Wright's Dairy Farm, Village Paint, Li'l General Convenience Store, Leeway Ace Hardware and Saturdays at the Forestdale schoolhouse. The NSHA will mail calendars for an extra $5 postage and handling charge. The calendar features images of local historic buildings and town landmarks accompanied by a short description of each location. The NSHA hopes the calendar will pro- mote community awareness of town landmarks as well as support for their restoration and preservation activities, according to NSHA president, Rich Keene. Local artists, Michael St. Jean, Larry Smith, Christine Keene and Aleksandra Norton created the imag- es. Judy Tenzar Beauchemin, New England Image and Print, designed and printed the final collectible-quality calendars. For more information, visit the North Smithfield Heritage Association website at www.nsmithfieldri.org or visit the Facebook page. Contact them by email at nsha@nsheritageassn.org or call Rich at 401-447-6394. Union Village bridge construction begins NORTH SMITHFIELD – The Rhode Island Department of Transportation this week was set to begin pre-construction activi- ties for the $5.2 million replace- ment of the Union Village Railroad Bridge, which carries Great Road over the Providence & Worcester Railroad between Lapre Road and Meadowbrook Drive. Tree trimming and utility work were expected to begin this week and could result in daytime lane closures. RIDOT expects bridge demolition to begin in the near future pending the finalization of permits with the freight rail operator and weather. Further traffic pattern changes will be announced in advance. The first phase of the project will involve demolishing and replacing the west side of the bridge, then shifting traffic onto the newly built portion so to demolish and replace the east side of the bridge. RIDOT expects to complete the project in late 2022 or early 2023. The Union Village Railroad Bridge is 89 years old and struc- turally deficient. It carries 17,400 vehicles per day, many of them from Woonsocket. City Council - Woonsocket, RI Application to hold a 1st Class Victualing License has been made at the office of the City Clerk as follows: Cherry Fried Chicken & Grill Corp., 828 Diamond Hill Road. e City Council will hold a public hearing on this application in Harris Hall, 169 Main Street, on Monday, December 7, 2020 at 6:30 PM. All persons interested and wishing to be heard are invited to attend via the following website: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81808827161 or by phone: 12532158782 / Meeting ID: 81808827161 / Password: 392727. Christina Harmon, Clerk of the City Council City Council - Woonsocket, RI Application to hold a 2nd Class Victualing License has been made at the office of the City Clerk as follows: Francescaz Foods, 40 South Main Street. e City Council will hold a public hearing on this application in Harris Hall, 169 Main Street, on Monday, December 7, 2020 at 6:30 PM. All persons interested and wishing to be heard are invited to attend via the following website: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81808827161 or by phone: 12532158782 / Meeting ID: 81808827161 / Password: 392727. Christina Harmon, Clerk of the City Council Town of North Smithfield, Rhode Island - Planning Board NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING Notice is hereby given that the North Smithfield Planning Board will hold a Public Hearing on ursday, December 3, 2020 at 7:05 p.m. via zoom. See zoom information here: https://zoom.us/j/98184272975?pwd=L3gxUXVuNDJzckV2bEU4TE5RSHlyZz09 Meeting ID: 981 8427 2975 Passcode: 032743 Dial by phone: +1 929 205 6099 US (New York) Major Land Development by expansion of building structure and parking at the Mosque Masjid Al-Islam, located 40 Sayles Hill Rd, Plat 17, Lots: 22 and 280. Application materials will be listed on the Town's website at minimum, 48 hours prior to the meeting. https://www.nsmithfieldri.org/planning-department/pages/ planning-board-meeting-materials Direct questions to the Planning Department, Town Hall, 83 Greene Street, North Smithfield, Mon-Wed, 8 am-4 p.m.; urs, 8 am-7 p.m.; Fri, 8 am-12 p.m. Individuals requiring interpreter services for the hearing impaired should call RI Relay at 1 (800) 745-5555, 72 hours prior to the date of the meeting.

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