New Ball O’Brien fence to improve safety

Fri, 10/27/2017 - 8:30am
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The Block Island Lions Club will be installing a three-foot high split-rail wooden fence at Ball O’Brien Park as a safety measure to prevent children from running into the parking lot.

The fence will be located where a line of boulders is now, and run from the stone wall at West Side Road to the park’s new restrooms. (There will be a gap between the fence and the restrooms for access.) The boulders will be removed prior to installation and used by the town on another town project.

The project was granted final approval by a 6-1 vote at the Historic District Commission’s meeting on Oct. 16. Arlene Tunney made the motion, which was seconded by Mike Ballard. 

The HDC approved the project with the condition that the fence post not exceed three feet in height. Mark Vaillancourt dissented, stating that he wanted the top wooden rail to designate the three-foot height.

“The idea is to stop kids from running into the parking area,” said Lions Club member Bud Martin. 

“Has there been an incident?” asked board member Dennis Riordan.

“No,” replied Martin, who said the installation is for “safety purposes,” and part of the Lions Club on-going playground improvement plans.

Part of the discussion involved the height of the fence, which Vaillancourt said should prevent children from crawling under it. Tunney pointed out that the dais in the chamber is about three feet high. 

The HDC members agreed that three feet would be a suitable height.

After the meeting, Lions Club Secretary Molly O’Neill told The Times that the fence will cost $500, and that playground co-committee chairs Bud Martin and Steve McQueeny initially met a year-and-a-half ago to discuss the project. 

“Now that it has been approved, the fence will be installed as soon as we are able to arrange a volunteer day to do so. The Block Island Lions Club is committed to the improvement and maintenance of the Ball O’Brien Park playground,” she said.

As for the boulders, Highways Supervisor Mike Shea said they “will be used in two different locations: at the Payne overlook parking area,” and “at the bottom of Bush Lot Hill,” located between the labyrinth and Sachem Pond.

Dead Eye Dick’s housing

The HDC granted Jessica Wronowski unanimous final approval for adding a second floor to an existing cottage on her Dead Eye Dick’s property at New Harbor. 

“For everyone’s information, the addition of the second floor is for summer housing, which is sorely needed on the island,” said HDC Chair Bill Penn. 

The next HDC meeting is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 20.