standing letters

There is exceptionally good news for taxpayers in the Charlestown town budget. The budget is projected to have no tax increase. In addition, there is $3,095,000 available for a community/recreation/senior center in the budget.

The Budget Commission has determined that financial capacity exists for a significant, one-time expenditure in the amount of $3,095,000 and has included that amount in the budget. The $3,095,000 is available for a community center because of reduced enrollment in Chariho, available fund balances, no new large capital projects, and savings from 2019 road projects.

This good fortune allows a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the town’s residents to create a multipurpose community center that would benefit our families and kids, year-round, for generations to come.

Some ideas have been suggested:

A basketball court–gymnasium–meeting room with a stage that would be used for year-round active sports for youth and adults; for indoor theatrical, arts, and music entertainment; and for large and small public meetings.

Space for improved existing programs and new opportunities for participation in classes and community social activities for seniors and all members of our community.

An outdoor entertainment venue for local concerts/movies/arts.

A true emergency shelter, which is needed in major emergencies and which does not exist in Charlestown. In addition it would be an indoor shelter during seasonal storms that interrupt children’s camp activities.

Residents would absolutely have a say. There will be extensive public outreach. Not a dime would be spent on construction until a good plan is in place and reviewed by the public!

Ninigret Park is conveniently located, close to the business district and other amenities. Because the town owns the property, the funds available for the center itself would be maximized. Many of the year-round and seasonal recreational facilities and programs would be located close together, including the town-funded multipurpose trail and the Kids’ Place playground, with accessible equipment. Finally, the existing Parks and Recreation Department could staff the facility.

I urge all to attend the budget public hearing, read the town’s “Pipeline,” and vote “yes” to approve the town budget that has no projected tax increase and provides for building a multipurpose community/recreation/senior center!

May 6, 2019 — budget public hearing, 7 p.m. at Town Hall.

June 3, 2019 — fiscal financial referendum, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., at Town Hall.

Tom Gentz

Charlestown

The writer is the former president of the Charlestown Town Council.

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