Fred Benson Town Beach to connect to town water

Thu, 11/26/2020 - 5:45pm
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During the Town Council’s meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 18 (the same meeting where the Holiday Stroll was cancelled), Town Manager Maryanne Crawford addressed the use of a well at Fred Benson Beach Pavilion for its water supply. The well has experienced “problems in recent years; nine out of the last 16 years,” she said.

“The water that [Fred Benson Beach Pavilion] supplies out of that well is considered a public water supply, based on the number of folks that use that well during the short season there,” said Crawford.

Crawford added that the best option would be to “abandon the well, and to tie into the Block Island Water Company to provide the water service to the beach.”

“There’s enough water allocation to do that,” said Crawford. The superintendents of both the Water and Sewer Companies have been increasingly vocal about ensuring there is enough capacity at both plants to accommodate the increasing, and larger scale, developments happening on Block Island.

Councilor Martha Ball asked if the Fred Benson Beach Pavilion was connected to the Block Island Water Company

“The town beach isn’t connected to the town water now?” asked Ball.

“No, it’s not. It’s only when we have a problem, the Block Island Water Company is on standby. And if we have a problem, then we switch over to their water,” said Crawford.

“I meant the line is in. We don’t have to put a new line in?” asked Ball.

“Correct,” said Crawford.

Second Warden André Boudreau made a motion to “surrender the water system license for the well at Fred Benson Beach Pavilion”, with Councilor Sven Risom seconding the motion. The motion was unanimously approved. Councilor Chris Willi was absent during the meeting.

In a conversation with The Times after the meeting, Crawford stated “the well will be shut down, and the beach will now be on town water.”

Town Manager monthly report

Crawford provided a detailed Town Manager’s Report, which addresses updates and announcements from town departments, including: Finance, Town Clerk’s office, Recreation Dept., Land Use, Building, and Administration. (The full report can be found on the Town of New Shoreham’s Clerkbase, under Town Council Agenda November 18, 2020).

Crawford used the words “strong and stable” when discussing town finance numbers; the Island Free Library “continues to operate as a ‘hybrid library’ with all programming as virtual, but with more on-site limited hours;” the Town Clerk’s office had a successful election this year due to the “thorough planning and excellent execution by the election team headed this year by [Deputy Town Clerk] Millie McGinnes;” the Recreation Department announced the youth soccer program has been cancelled due to the growing Covid19 caseload, but the outdoor pickleball program continues with masks and sanitation in place (all other programs involving students are on hold.)The Andy’s Way zoning application will go before the Planning Board on Dec. 9 for an advisory opinion, and then for a public hearing by the Zoning Board on Jan. 27, with a “good possibility” of the application being completed for the 2021 summer season. The broadband project continues to show progress in moving forward; and the Army Corps of Engineers is planning to remove “3,000 cubic yards of material in Old Harbor.”

“This is approximately five times more than previous dredgings,” said Crawford.

Crawford also pointed out that she, along with Councilor Martha Ball, Lt. Paul Deane, and Assistant Town Manager Shirlyne Gobern continue to meet with some of the moped owners for discussion on the upcoming summer season.

“The meetings have been productive and I anticipate reporting out to the council in January/February with a draft plan for the 2021 summer,” said Crawford.

Crawford thanked First Warden Ken Lacoste and Willi for their time served on the Town Council.

“I would like to thank them for appointing me as the Town Manager. I don’t doubt that the two will continue to provide community service to the town of Block Island,” said Crawford.

Opportunities to serve

An annual announcement was made by Lacoste for opportunities to serve on Town Council appointed boards, committees, and commissions. The following are potential openings for boards, committees, and commissions, as of Dec. 31, 2020. All of these seats might not need to be filled due to the fact that some members may opt to serve another term:

One opening for Block Island Early Learning Center; one opening for Block Island Health Services; four openings for Block Island Housing Board; two openings for Board of Assessment Review; two openings for Commission on Motor Vehicles for Hire; three openings for Conservation Commission; five openings for Deer Task Force; three openings for Emergency Management Agency; eight openings for Emergency Management Task Force; two openings for Harbors Committee; three openings for Historic District Commission; two openings for Juvenile Hearing Review Board; two openings for Library Board of Trustees; eight openings for New Shoreham Broadband Committee; three openings for New Shoreham Tourism Council; two openings for North Light Commission; six openings for Old Harbor Task Force; two openings for Planning Board; five openings for Recreation Board; eight openings for School Building Committee; four openings for Senior Advisory Committee; one opening for Sewer District Commission; three openings for Shellfish Commission; one opening for Water District Commission; and three openings for Zoning Board.

Individuals who are interested in serving the Town on any of the boards, committees, or commissions should notify the Town Council in writing.