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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

We must work together to preserve the community we love

The character of our town should be protected as we develop
By Catherine Cool Rumsey

EDITOR’S NOTE: Cathie is running for state Senate District 34, to represent the northern half of Charlestown, Richmond, Hopkinton, Exeter and part of West Greenwich. She served in the Senate with distinction in 2013-14 and is running to regain that seat.

I love our community. Rhode Island may be famous for our beaches, but the woodlands and picturesque farmlands of western Rhode Island are a treasure in their own right. Most of us who live here want to be sure to preserve that rural character, and to protect natural resources that we hold dear.

While we all support economic development, it has to be done right. Projects such as the proposed Love Truck Stop and the DOT Transit Center threaten the rural character of our community.

Because of their proposed locations, they may have an impact on natural resources as well. We need to examine the impact of these projects on local water resources in the area.

The severe droughts and water shortage in California, as well as the water contamination situation in Flint, Michigan, are warnings to us all. We need to be mindful when considering any “economic development” what the impacts are to our environment.

We need to balance smart economic growth with the absolute imperative need of a good, clean water supply.

Just saying “no” isn’t good enough. We need to work together to solve complex issues with level heads. All stakeholders should be involved in the discussion as we focus on how to find a common ground solution.

We all recognize the importance of economic vitality within our communities. Business development helps offset the property tax burdens placed on the residents.

We need to work together towards the goal of promoting smart growth, properly located, while balancing the need to protect natural resources and the very character of the community we fell in love with when we chose to make our homes here. It may be a challenge, but it can be done.

Looking around at the many mills and farms housed in our charming little corner of the state, we know it can be done. Businesses development and environmental protection can coexist harmoniously.

Working together, we need to combine our knowledge and utilize the technological innovations available today to meet the economic challenges of tomorrow.

I am proud to have been able to work together with divergent interests to bring about solutions to complex problems in the past.

I look forward to rolling up my sleeves and getting to work on behalf of our community to balance economic growth with environmental protection while preserving our rural character.