Once upon a time in Charlestown
Tom Gentz, Charlestown’s Town Council Boss, wrote a remarkable letter that was published in the August 5 Sunday Westerly Sun.” In this letter, Gentz not only accepts ownership for Charlestown’s tawdry Y-Gate Scandal but also violates most of the sacred principles that are at the core of his re-election campaign.
Oh, yes, just in case anyone might have forgotten, Gentz ends his letter by reminding Charlestown voters that he is running for re-election, presumably using the Y-Gate fiasco as a centerpiece in his campaign.
For those of you who haven’t been paying attention, or have really short attention spans, the “Y-Gate Scandal” has roiled Charlestown for more than a year. If not for resistance from the community, Charlestown taxpayers would have been stuck with a $475,000 tab for a rural junkyard. State taxpayers would have been whacked for $367,000 (and might still get whacked for $206,000).
Gentz’s August 5 letter tells his own twisted version of events and laments his failed bid to screw Charlestown taxpayers.
The quick and fast history of the Y-GATE Scandal
“Y-Gate” revolves around a 27.5-acre abandoned campground on Watchaug Pond that is owned by the Westerly YMCA.
Click here to read all of Progressive Charlestown’s start-to-finish coverage of Y-Gate.
|Y needs to money to pay for its partially-built new |
building on High St. in Westerly
That plan was killed by out-of-state neighbors in the Sonquipaug neighborhood to the south of the camp who didn’t want anything built on the site since they were using it as a free extension of their tenth-of-an-acre vacation properties. Sonquipaug was aided by CCA Planning Commissar Ruth Platner, who publicly supported Veazey’s plan while privately plotting to kill it.
After the Veazey plan died, the Y then latched on to the Charlestown Land Trust as its partner. At first, the Land Trust was going to go after a state grant and then raise private funds to match the state money. They would then buy the camp from the Y and turn it into open space. Technically, the Y camp is already zoned Open Space/Recreation, but it’s covered with 20 derelict buildings, old septic systems and lots of junk.
The old switcheroo
In his letter, Gentz described this sleazy process: “
If Gentz wants to be judged by his conduct during the Y-Gate Scandal, so be it.