North Kingstown doesn’t need $7.5 million to save town hall

North Kingstown doesn’t need $7.5 million to save town hall

October 3, 2019

The good people of North Kingstown have typically been very generous, with respect to making decisions on bond approvals for various town related issues, so it came as no surprise that voters approved $5,000,000 to be spent on the “renovation and restoration” of the Town Hall. Unfortunately, this November, voters will again be asked to approve yet another $7,500,000, for a total of $12,500,000  — for the same purpose.

 

A group of NK citizens known as Save Our Town Hall have stated “they are a group of citizens who think that North Kingstown’s historic town hall deserves to be restored to become the seat of our town government once again and to be a landmark we can be proud of.”

 

Of course, the obvious implication of that statement is that there is a cadre of North Kingstown residents who do NOT want to Save Our Town Hall. If that were true, I’ve not met any, nor heard of them. Virtually everyone in town is in favor of Saving the Town Hall.

 

The real issue is not about Saving the Town Hall but about soliciting more money from taxpayers for a new construction project that requires voters/taxpayers to approve, yet another $7,500,000 to fund a structure (DBVW Town Hall Feasibility Study, Option #1) that is neither operationally realistic nor fiscally prudent, and certainly has little to do with preserving North Kingstown’s architectural and historical legacy. The bond that our voters already approved ($5,000,000) to renovate and restore, or otherwise Save the Town Hall, is designated for such purposes, and is more than sufficient to meet the objective of Saving Our Town Hall (DBVW Option #3).

There are lots of issues with this new construction project (DBVW Option #1) other than the massively overpriced estimate of $450-$600 per square foot, but one example is parking. There is no way to make this project work without relocating Memorial Park. To date, there is no viable/suitable place for relocation that provides the respect and dignity our veterans deserve.

 

Yes, we are all truly in favor of Saving the Town Hall, but let’s be clear about what that means. It means honoring our legacy by restoring, renovating and updating the iconic 1888 Town Hall to be utilized once again as our seat of government, while also respecting our taxpayers. Please Vote NO on Question #1 on November 5.

 

 

Randy Wietman

North Kingstown

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