2008-09-18 / Editorial


What should we do with the old highway barn?

It won't be long until the town's highway department will move into its long-awaited and much needed new facility near the Pell Bridge.

So what will we do with the old building at Ft. Wetherill? We're talking about prime waterfront property, overlooking a small scenic harbor and the East Passage of Narragansett Bay.

The concrete building, which was constructed by the U.S. Navy during World War II, will need to be rehabilitated no matter what it is used for.

The Town Council is planning to hold a public hearing this fall on the fate of the old highway barn. A few of the proposals include:

• Turning the building into a banquet hall and community meeting space.

• Utilizing the building as an arts and museum/ gallery space.

• Putting the building to work for community recreational needs.

The big drawback to renovating the building will be the cost. How will we pay for the project? Do we want additional debt for the town?

Of course, another alternative would be to sell the property. Waterfront property commands a hefty price tag these days. If the town sold the property the proceeds could then be used to fund development of the Fort Getty Master Plan.

The fate of the old highway barn at Fort Wetherill is open for debate. What are your thoughts on the matter? Let us know by writing a letter to the editor.

— Jeff McDonough

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