Lot 47 still the best choice
There seems to be a lot of false information going around about the highway barn proposed for Taylor Point.
First of all, I keep hearing that Taylor Point will be more efficient and less costly to operate because it is more centrally located. I don't think so. Lot 47 is closer to the Jamestown Shores (with nearly half the town's roads) and Taylor Point is closer to downtown. Both are about the same distance from the "average" worksite. Based on that, operational costs would be about the same for a barn located at either site.
But what tips the balance on efficiency and cost is that a Taylor Point barn would mean a split operation, with daily trips between the barn and the existing outdoor storage yard at the old landfill, five miles away. A lot of highway department time and taxpayer money would be wasted every year driving back and forth between Taylor Point and the north end.
Second, some say the highway barn must be in the center of the island in case there's a hurricane. But, the fire, ambulance, highway, and police departments try to cover all three parts of the Island - Beavertail, center island, and north end - during a hurricane. Wouldn't it help to have a building at Lot 47 that all departments could use in an emergency?
Finally, some say the barn can't be built at Lot 47 because of the opposition of wealthy neighbors. To this I say hogwash. The last five councils have studied this problem to death and have spent a lot of taxpayer money trying to find a site that will placate the North End Concerned Citizens. They have been unable to find any site that will accommodate the highway department's operation as well as Lot 47 will. And, they have found that a highway barn can be built and operated on Lot 47 without endangering the groundwater.
In all this time the council has not found the will to build the barn on Lot 47. We should not give up before we even try. We owe it to our highway department and ourselves to build the barn where it will be the most functional and least expensive. That's at Lot 47. It can be done. We just have to do it.
Step one is to vote against the Taylor Point barn on Aug. 28. Step two will be to vote for the Lot 47 barn on Nov. 6. Let's do it.
Dennis Webster Mt. Hope Avenue