Bridges proposal would make town ‘even better’

Having read the article entitled “Residents speak up against affordable housing” that appeared in the Nov. 23 issue of the Jamestown Press, I am writing, as a 20-year island resident, to express my strong support for the project involving Bridges Inc.

As professor of psychiatry in the Brown Medical School and director of the Center for Autism & Developmental Disabilities at Bradley Hospital, I am familiar with the work of Bridges. Its reputation as a human service agency for individuals with developmental disabilities is excellent.

I also should note that in the course of my work at Brown and Bradley, I have led the establishment of five similar projects in the separate towns of Exeter, East Greenwich, Warwick, Rumford and North Providence. In each case, there was trepidation on the part of the neighborhood with many “what if” concerns.

Certainly the concerns of prospective neighbors are legitimate. However, there is an overriding “what if” that was not mentioned. That being, “What if your son, daughter, grandson, granddaughter, nephew or niece was afflicted with a developmental disability and could no longer live at home?” Wouldn’t you want them to have the opportunity to reside in a community like ours?

I think we know every islander’s answer to that question. Consequently, I ask you to support the Bridges project. It will make our wonderful town even better.

Rowland P. Barrett

Ledge Road