OHTF begins discussions for Weldon’s Way

Thu, 03/04/2021 - 6:15pm

Old Harbor Task Force Chair Margie Comings invited Town Manager Maryanne Crawford, along with Block Island Power Company President Jeff Wright, to their meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 24. to discuss long-term planning for parts of the downtown area.

“One of the things that has concerned us is the lack of street lighting on Weldon’s Way and Chapel Street,” said Comings. “We will start with Weldon’s Way.”

“I live on High Street and I walk to work every day,” said Crawford “I cut through Weldon’s Way, and every morning when I walk down Weldon’s Way I shake my head – this road is going to drive me crazy. What I would like to do is look at Weldon’s Way holistically. We need a landscape architect to take a look at the whole road. I don’t find that road inviting for folks coming here,” said Crawford.

Crawford asked Wright “if we can do something extremely temporary and inexpensive” for Weldon’s Way. “If we can’t, [I] prefer to look at the whole thing holistically.”

Wright responded: “Normally we do a [lighting] project with a sidewalk or road project – a combined effort. With Weldon’s Way, I have been talking to the guys about it and I don’t know if you could do anything temporary. I don’t think it’s the right place for it. But we will work with any ideas.”

“I think that it is a road that can [become] really nice, inviting, and welcoming once we have someone take a look at it. I would like to somehow wrap Water Street, Chapel Street and Dodge Street in – the whole downtown area,” said Crawford.

“I’m glad you say Water Street and Dodge Street. Chapel Street is an easy one, I’ll take a look at that,” said Wright.

Comings reminded the attendees that a lighting project is “not a cheap project and it isn’t something you do on the spur of the moment.”

“This has to have some long-term planning,” said Comings, emphasizing the need for all the parties to stay in touch.

Continued discussions on sculpture in Mary D. Park

During a previous meeting resident Sue Black had presented plans to erect a boat sculpture featuring fiber art sails in Mary D. Park. But the consensus of the board was that the sculpture was too large for the park, and would possibly impede on the views of Old Harbor. 

Black presented an alternative plan for the downtown park: repurposing Optimist boats from the Block Island Club to serve as a charging station or as flower planters.

“This came from a conversation with [Block Island Club Waterfront Director] Cameron Greenlee [who talked] about how he wanted to upgrade their boats [at the club]. They have 10 of the small Optis that he wants to upgrade – they want to sell these boats they have and buy a newer style. I was thinking of maybe doing something creative with the boats and have them around the island,” said Black. “Something like this would work in the Mary D. Park better because it’s smaller,” Black continued. She added she would look into fundraising efforts in order to purchase the Optimist boats from the club.

Comings asked for Black to return to the task force at its Wednesday, March 17 meeting to continue discussions on the sculpture project. She reminded Black to keep in consideration the size of the sculptures in the downtown area.

“People do not want their view of the harbor blocked, we need to keep that in mind,” said Comings.