2013-03-14 / News

RV park interest wanes

Only four of first 19 on wait-list are interested
BY MARGO SULLIVAN

RV campers who want a spot at Fort Getty this summer may be in luck.

Recreation Director Bill Piva told the Town Council at its March 7 meeting that the trailer park has 21 vacancies. He said reservations are lagging behind previous years.

Piva said he has started to contact people on the waiting list, but so far, only four of the first 19 at the head of the waiting list have indicated they plan to purchase a seasonal pass.

“Only four are really interested,” he said.

None has sent a deposit.

Piva said two of the four waiting list candidates are Jamestown residents, and he will allow them a couple more days to decide. The town did get a later start than usual on Fort Getty reservations, but Piva isn’t certain he can rent the entire campground in time for the summer. If not, he said, the town may have to open up some sites for transient passes and charge by the day.

In December, the Town Council voted to reduce the number of Fort Getty campground sites from 105 to 84, shorten the season by two weeks, and raise the price for seasonal passes from $3,700 to $4,500 per season.

Earlier, the council had voted to reduce the campground footprint by eliminating 15 sites on the eastern edge of the park along Fort Getty Road. The town would then relocate most of those displaced seasonal campers to a different section of the campground that had been rented to transient campers. Piva said nine of the 15 displaced campers are returning, and they have selected new sites.

Under the new arrangement, most of the $60-per-day transient spaces were supposed to be converted to seasonal use.

Council President Kristine Trocki said 87 people are on the waiting list.

“We’ll get some filled,” Piva said, but added that some on the waiting list have asked not to be contacted about openings.

In other business, the Town Council awarded a contract for a sum not to exceed $12,000 to Gates, Leighton & Associates of Lincoln. The money will be used to design the parking, landscaping and other site amenities for the Fort Getty pavilion.

The job was not competitively bid. Instead, Piva, along with Town Engineer Michael Gray and Town Planner Lisa Bryer, “negotiated” a price, not including permitting and storm-water design. The three acted as a staff subcommittee carrying out the council’s Jan. 7 instruction to advertise for a landscape architect by putting out a request for qualifications.

According to their memo to the council, they received proposals from nine applicants in response to an advertisement in the Feb. 4 edition of the Providence Journal. They ultimately recommended Gates, Leighton & Associates as the most qualified. The company is a division of Beta Inc., an engineering firm.

“We used a range of criteria for consultant selection including the firm profile, experience, similar projects, schedule, current workload, subcontractors, location and project approach,” the memo said.

Funding for the landscape architect will come from the Fort Getty capital account.

In a related matter, the Town Council also accepted, but did not discuss, two letters from Andrew Yates, the architect who designed the pavilion at Fort Getty.

On Feb. 3, Yates wrote to caution the councilors against altering the pavilion site plan, which he said he already designed.

“It is my understanding that you are contemplating changes to my pavilion site plan,” he wrote. Yates said a change in the plan could cause delays in completing the punch list for the pavilion.

According to Councilor Mary Meagher, the past council had stopped work on the plan.

“They did not consider the site plan and landscape to be part of that project,” she said, “So we’re surprised when some of those landscape elements appeared and sought to review them, first by themselves, then turning it over to the Planning Commission.”

In December, Meagher suggested hiring a professional landscape architect for the pavilion site, instead of relying on staff.

“I think Fort Getty deserves our best thought and attention. It warrants the skill, talent and training of those with expertise and vision in the landscape. To move the project forward, I recommended that we seek the services of a landscape architect to review Andy’s plans as well as those of town staff.”

Earlier, in a Feb. 1 letter, Yates applauded the council’s decision to hire a landscape architect for Fort Getty. Yates said a landscape architect can help the town develop Fort Getty as a public park, with pedestrian walkways and offsite parking, which will ensure public access and prevent the property from turning into an “auto mall.”

In other business, the council postponed a discussion until its second regular meeting in March about seasonal parking permits on Hamilton Avenue because Police Chief Ed Mello was not able to attend the meeting.

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