2017-08-10 / Front Page

OUT WITH THE OLD . . .

Razing starts at North Road playground
BY TIM RIEL


A town worker uses a backhoe Monday afternoon to raze the perimeter of the North Road playground. This is phase one to rebuild the park, which is expected to cost about $300,000. 
PHOTO BY ANDREA VON HOHENLEITEN A town worker uses a backhoe Monday afternoon to raze the perimeter of the North Road playground. This is phase one to rebuild the park, which is expected to cost about $300,000. PHOTO BY ANDREA VON HOHENLEITEN Workers with backhoes began tearing down fences at the 25-year-old playground that neighbors the library, marking the beginning of the end for the deteriorating landmark.

According to Town Administrator Andy Nota, this is the initial phase of an approximately $300,000 project to replace the playground with safer, contemporary equipment. The playground will remain open during construction.

Workers with the highway department started Monday morning by tearing down the fence in the northwest corner at the intersection of Valley Street and North Road. This phase will redefine the perimeter of the playground while installing an accessible sidewalk and 11 angled parking spaces along Valley Street.

“The work should take several weeks to complete and dramatically improve safety and available parking in that area,” Nota said.

The left sides of the traffic cones mark where 11 angled parking spaces will be placed off Valley Street for public parking. The work is being done in conjunction with the new playground project.PHOTO BY TIM RIEL The left sides of the traffic cones mark where 11 angled parking spaces will be placed off Valley Street for public parking. The work is being done in conjunction with the new playground project.
PHOTO BY TIM RIEL
In the meantime, Andy Wade, recreation director, continues to meet with the renovation committee to finalize plans for the new playground. A recommendation, Wade anticipates, will be delivered along with a presentation to the town councilors in September.

The board has met 15 times since it was formed in March. Moreover, the members have visited playgrounds in neighboring communities and interviewed designers. They also have solicited advice from Town Planner Lisa Bryer, Town Engineer Mike Gray and Police Chief Ed Mello.

According to Wade, there is $258,000 in an account earmarked for the project. The money comes from three sources: $100,000 from a state grant, $85,000 approved by taxpayers and the remaining $73,000 from donations through the Ryan Bourque fund. That charity was founded after Bourque, a Jamestown police officer, was killed by a drunken driver in May 2016. While celebrating his one-year anniversary on the force, Bourque was driving home to Coventry following his shift when a vehicle driving the wrong way on Interstate 95 slammed head-on into his car. Both men were killed.

Wade sits on the renovation committee with at-large members Betty Kinder, Bradley Parsons, Michelle Bush and Christina Smith. Because they are abutters, the Jamestown Arts Center and library board of trustees also are represented on the board by Dick Trask and Jen Cloud, respectively. The final two voting members are Matt Bolles, who represents the 1990 playground committee, and Bourque’s mother

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