Meeting to explore future use of Elmhurst School property in Portsmouth


PORTSMOUTH — The future of the site of the former Elmhurst Elementary School in Portsmouth will be the topic of a meeting Wednesday, Jan. 23, at 7 p.m. in the council chambers in the Portsmouth Town Hall.

This meeting will be led by the Providence-based engineering and architectural firm Vanesse Hangen Brustlin, Inc. The firm will be seeking goals and desires of residents for the future use of the site, after the school is torn down. The firm has been hired to develop specifications to seek bids for the project. The ideas could include parking needs, event needs, views, pathways, gardens and passive recreation areas.

The Aquidneck Land Trust has been working with the Portsmouth Town Council to come to a mutually agreed upon conservation easement proposal for the site.

"It's our understanding that the use of the property will go before the voters for approval in April 2013," the ALT said in a press release.."  We hope that our proposal will be a part of the this referendum.  In February 2012, ALT submitted a proposal to the town to conserve and enhance the Glen. The basic three-part proposal which ALT currently has on the table is as follows:

1. ALT to provide $1 million to the town for the removal of the Elmhurst School building, except possibly the associated chapel;

2. ALT to provide a $150,000 challenge grant to the Town for restoration of the historic structures within the Glen such as the old Taylor barns or the Brown House; and

3. ALT will create a Conservation Easement over most of the Glen, including Elmhurst, and any of the $1,000,000 not used could be used for a public waterfront park (park benches, a gazebo, etc.).

"After receiving so much support from Portsmouth residents, various committees and organizations we know the future of the Elmhurst School is an important topic to many of you. We encourage you to join us and attend this idea sharing session."


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