WESTERLY — The streets could soon be alive with the sound of music.
During a project update Monday night, the Town Council learned that plans to install large outdoor musical instruments throughout the Westerly-Pawcatuck downtown area and beyond are moving along. Tim Lebling who is heading up the project up on behalf of Bricks and Murals, the organization responsible for the murals painted and placed on the side of buildings in the downtown area in 2017, said the organization has raised about $34,000 so far and expects to have raised $54,000 in time to order the instruments on April 15.
Eight of the public instruments are planned for the downtown area, including three at Donahue Park. Others are planned for Beach Street and Rotary Park and three are envisioned for West Vine School in Pawcatuck.
Lebling asked the Town Council to provide input and direction for the next steps related to proposals to put three instruments on town-owned property: two at Rotary Park, one on the lawn area in front of the Adult Day Center on Union Street (the former police station), and one on a town-owned parcel at 22 Canal St.
The council asked Town Manager J. Mark Rooney to review the use of the town-owned locations and to report back to the council, which will ultimately be asked to approve or disapprove the locations.
Councilors Karen Cioffi and William Aiello voiced misgivings about the Union Street location. Cioffi questioned whether there is enough foot traffic at the location. Aiello said he was concerned about whether the Adult Day Center space was large enough to be used safely.
"Something about it doesn't seem right," Aiello said of the Union Street location.
Lebling said staff at the day center are supportive of the idea. The instruments might be a fun activity for the center's clients, he said.
Cioffi also questioned whether the instrument envisioned for Canal Street would receive much use. Organizers of the Harmony Trail project selected the spot because a donor indicated a preference for a peaceful and safe location near water. The now undeveloped property offers a view of the Pawcatuck River. It was purchased by the town using grant funds as part of a flood hazard mitigation project.
Other instruments are planned for private properties. Agreements between Bricks and Murals and the private property owners are under review, Lebling said.
Bricks and Murals will be responsible for maintenance and cleaning of the instruments and will issue certificates of insurance for them, Lebling said.
Of the downtown instruments, one will be sponsored by the Westerly-Pawcatuck Downtown Business Association, four by businesses, two by nonprofit organizations, and one by a private citizen.
Other instruments will be purchased using funds from donations, grants and fundraisers.