By Will Collette
Progress on public access to Charlestown Moraine Preserve
It took a while to settle the issue of what to do with the land Charlestown purchased for $2.1 million to block the proposed Whalerock wind turbines. For a while, Town Council Boss Tom Gentz and Planning Commissar Ruth Platner pushed the town to give away the land to one of their favored groups, only to discover that these groups either didn’t want the land or weren’t legally eligible to receive it. Plus, any such transaction requires voter approval.
After much painful stumbling about, the Council settled on the only logical approach which was to let the town Conservation Commission do its job to figure out how to best make it possible for residents to enjoy the land that was bought with their tax dollars.
The Conservation Commission has moved this process forward by working with the Nature Conservancy to plot out trail routes and with town Public Works to figure out the least intrusive way to set up public parking. Click here and here to see what they’ve come up with.
In a nutshell, for $12,979, we can build a 60’ x 60’ parking lot on King’s Factory Road and lay out trails so people can enjoy this beautiful piece of land. Included in the estimate is money for an archaeological survey to ensure that building the parking does not disturb any protected Native American gravesites or artifacts, an important consideration, given the site’s close proximity to Narragansett Tribal lands.
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