Nicholas Ball Park to be restored

For upcoming summer season
Thu, 01/10/2019 - 7:15pm

Restoration of Nicholas Ball Park will begin shortly, as the Historic District Commission granted the Old Harbor Task Force unanimous conceptual approval (5-0) of the project on Tuesday afternoon, pending receipt of some incidental information. HDC member Mike Ballard made the motion that was seconded by Mark Vallaincourt.

“This is a great winter project,” said OHTF Chair Margie Comings, noting that the $50,000 project’s supervisor, Harold “Turtle” Hatfield, who owns Islandscape, Inc., would be working on the project over the winter so it would be ready for the upcoming summer season. She said the project is partially funded by a $39,935 matching Rhode Island Main Street grant, and that OHTF is raising currently fundraising to finish the project. Comings said after final sign-off on the project from the HDC, the OHTF will need to secure a building permit and water permit before commencing with the work.

The project will include a four-foot wide walkway made of blue stone in a staggered two-by-four pattern, and feature a concrete game table and seats so visitors can play chess or checkers. The park will boast a water filling station near the sidewalk, a simple iron-pipe railing for the stairs, cedar fencing, restored existing bike racks, landscaping, directional signage with information about the island’s landmarks, and a historical plaque.

Comings took the commission through a page-by-page review of the project, answering questions along the way. The commissioners were concerned that the water station wasn’t close enough to the sidewalk, so Comings agreed to its relocation. The commissioners also chose a staggered pattern for the blue stone in the landscaping design.

Facilities Manager Sam Bird accompanied Comings at the meeting, giving information about the water fountain/filling station he designed. The filling station would cost $300-$400 and be comprised of wood with a fountain and bottle filler at the top and a water bowl for dogs near its cement base.

Bird said the wood-based water station would fit in well with the character of the island, and be less problematic than the expensive metal-based station at the Solviken property. He noted that the water supplied to the filling station would be turned off during the winter.

Comings said the OHTF would consult with John Breunig, the town’s Water Superintendent about tapping into the water line at Nicholas Ball Park. “The water line also serves the church,” said Comings.

“Who’s going to pay for the water?” asked Chair Bill Penn.

Comings said it would be the same as with Esta’s Park, with “the town paying for the utilities.”

As for the game table, which will be an attraction at the park, Comings said “black and white stones,” will be used for playing checkers. “We’ll see how long they last.”

“Who’s going to restock the stones?” quipped Ballard.

“I suppose the Old Harbor Task Force will do it for a while,” said Comings, stifling laughter.

In other news, The HDC voted unanimously to preliminarily approve plans for installing Bird’s water filling station at the Island Free Library as well. Arlene Tunney made the motion that was seconded by Penn.

The HDC granted unanimous final approval to contractor Lucas Silva on behalf of Kathleen Hall for installing new windows and siding on her single-family dwelling on Corn Neck Road, within the Historic District. The home was constructed in 1950 and is zoned as mixed-use historically on the application. Ballard made the motion that was seconded by Tunney.

The HDC granted unanimous final approval to Rebecca Zendt to replace the first floor windows and a door at the Darius Inn. Ballard made the motion that was seconded by Tunney.

The next HDC meeting is Monday, Jan. 28 at 7 p.m.