Letter: Opposed to the Chianese turf proposal

Posted 2/15/24

At the Feb. 5 Barrington Town Council Meeting, Town Council Vice President Robert Humm presented his plan to upgrade the athletic fields in Barrington. He cited as …

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Letter: Opposed to the Chianese turf proposal


To the editor:

At the Feb. 5 Barrington Town Council Meeting, Town Council Vice President Robert Humm presented his plan to upgrade the athletic fields in Barrington.  

He cited as support for his plan the extremely detailed report of a consulting firm hired by the Town Council. Mr. Humm cited that report time and time again as support and justification for his 18-phase proposal. 

The keystone of Mr. Humm’s plan is to cover lower Chianese field and put in two artificial turf fields. Mr. Humm mentioned only briefly the fact that the very report he cited as justification for his expansive and expensive plan specifically recommended against putting any artificial turf in Chianese Park because it is a capped landfill overseen by DEM; the report specifically recommended a different site.  

Mr. Humm chose to discount these specific recommendations of the consultants that he hired because in his opinion it just makes sense to put the artificial turf fields there at Chianese. And this entire proposal was put together without involving any of the surrounding neighborhoods.

By Mr. Humm’s own estimation, each field would provide 3-4 times the available playing time as a natural grass field. This will have very predictable and expected effects on traffic congestion and public safety that are already present with current use of the playing fields.

Also included in Mr. Humm’s plan is enclosing the playing fields with fences, and put in towers with lights to enable games / matches to continue into the night. Mr. Humm said that he saw new-technology playing field lights in Westerly and claimed that the lights weren’t even visible from across the street. I find that very difficult to believe. I don’t live across the street, I live right next to this field; these light poles and stadium lights would stand about 12 feet from my back yard.  

When we moved into our home 35-plus years ago, we were told by the Town of Barrington that there would never be lights or competition fields in Chianese Park because it is a capped landfill. What changed?

The markedly increased noise, light, traffic and trash associated with these heavy use fields would have a terrible impact on the quality of life of the homes surrounding Chianese Park, including mine.

I am not opposed to organized sports in Barrington. I am opposed to the perspective that the Town is obligated to continuously increase the amount of Town expenditures dedicated to private use activities at the expense of the quality of life of town residents who live near proposed playing fields.

And the cost of these two fields? $4,800,000. That’s $4.8 million dollars for TWO playing fields that will be used by a small minority of town residents and whose neighborhood impact will anger the people of the surrounding neighborhoods.

And in spite of near unanimous opposition at the Town Council meeting, Mr. Humm pressed for approval. This proposal is irresponsible and should not be approved.

Stephen Carr


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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.