CHARLESTOWN — Potable water, commercial architectural standards and transparency in government are the top three issues for Frank Glista, a candidate for Town Council who has been endorsed by the Charlestown Residents United political action committee.
Glista grew up in Charlestown, where his grandfather bought property in 1924. He is a retired remodeling contractor and has lived in town for a total of 45 years.
In an interview, Glista, 67, said his actions as a private citizen reflect his vision for the town. In 2012, Glista and his family sold their unbuilt 10-lot subdivision, which contained a public water supply source, to the Rhode Island Water Resources Board. The family also sold the adjacent Oceanaire Motel parcel to the WRB to further protect the water source.
“We eliminated 10 approved building lots, we added 20 acres of open space, and provided a potable water source for future generations,” he said.
Glista served for 15 years on the town’s Economic Improvement Commission and was chairman from 2012 to 2015. He also served on the commission’s Traditional Village District Design Standards Planning subcommittee, and said he’d like to see the group’s work completed because design standards could help the town resist stores like Dollar General. The retailer has been trying to open a store in Charlestown for the past few years.
Design standards would have made Dollar General “conform to a design that would have been appropriate for our town,” he said. “We need to look beyond our Comprehensive Plan as we live in an environment that is constantly changing. Our current elected officials lack the vision to foresee future concerns or threats to our town.”
Glista helped to initiate the $1 million Ninigret Park Recreation Bond in 2015 with a group that eventually formed Charlestown Residents. “That bond received overwhelming approval by the voters even though four of the five current Town Council members fought against our residents’ wishes to improve Ninigret Park,” he said in a written statement.
In 2005, he initiated the New Year’s Eve bonfire in Ninigret Park; he builds the structure every year. In 2002, he appointed himself caretaker of the Naval Auxiliary Air Field Memorial in Ninigret Park and raised funds for the care, maintenance and landscaping of the monument, which is now supported by the town.
If elected, he said he would work to cut excess spending from the town budget by asking department heads to cut waste and suggest cost savings measures and by applying for grant money instead of using taxpayer dollars.
He also said he’d like to see more government transparency and a mix of viewpoints on the Town Council going forward, instead of a council populated solely by members of another PAC, the Charlestown Citizens Alliance.
“We cannot have one PAC control the town,” he said. “We need compromise, we need debate, it’s good for democracy.”