Amore proposes East Providence purchase Metacomet through eminent domain

General Assembly member says state, federal entities and non-profits could facilitate move

By Mike Rego
Posted 9/28/20

EAST PROVIDENCE — State Representative Gregg Amore (D-Dist. 65, East Providence) is attempting what even he concedes is likely a last-ditch effort to resolve the ongoing impasse over the …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Not a subscriber?


Start a Subscription

Sign up to start a subscription today! Click here to see your options.

Purchase a day pass

Purchase 24 hours of website access for $2. Click here to continue

Day pass subscribers

Are you a day pass subscriber who needs to log in? Click here to continue.


Amore proposes East Providence purchase Metacomet through eminent domain

General Assembly member says state, federal entities and non-profits could facilitate move

A view of the Metacomet Golf Club from the Watchemoket Cove off Veterans Memorial Parkway.
A view of the Metacomet Golf Club from the Watchemoket Cove off Veterans Memorial Parkway.
Posted

EAST PROVIDENCE — State Representative Gregg Amore (D-Dist. 65, East Providence) is attempting what even he concedes is likely a last-ditch effort to resolve the ongoing impasse over the proposed redevelopment of the Metacomet Golf Club off Veterans Memorial Parkway, suggesting with the financial support of local and federal authorities the city purchases the property through eminent domain and maintains it as a true open space.

Rep. Amore, outlining his plan and the non-binding resolution he expects to submit in the General Assembly, issued a statement Monday afternoon, Sept. 28, three days after Marshall Properties announced it would go through with the purchase of the 138-acre parcel without seeking any zoning or comprehensive plan changes, which it was referring to as its “Plan A.” Rather, the company said it would attempt to alter the land based off of the existing “O-1” zoning designation or its “Plan B.”

Rep. Amore countered, proposing East Providence seek a municipal bond that could potentially be supplemented through Rhode Island Department of Environment grants, federal assistance and what he termed the support of “various conservation organizations… and the forming of the Metacomet Conservancy Land Trust.”

Wrote Rep. Amore, “As Marshall Properties comes to the residents of East Providence with an either or proposition regarding the re-development of the Metacomet Country Club and their vision of what they think is best for the city’s future, I am offering a legitimate alternative that will allow the public to determine how best to utilize one of the limited green spaces located in our city and in all of the urban core. I have submitted a House Resolution calling on the City of East Providence, through eminent domain, to purchase the 105 acre golf course for public use.”

His statement indicated he has already corresponded through written letters to the office of East Providence Mayor Bob DaSilva and the City Council along with U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, as well as Congressman David Cicilline, who represents the area in the U.S. House of Representatives. In addition, Rep. Amore has contacted his counterparts at the state level, including Governor Gina Raimondo and RIDEM and advocacy groups like the Rhode Island Audubon Society, the Conservation Law Foundation and the Sierra Club of Rhode Island.

Rep. Amore’s statement continued, “As a lifelong resident of the City of East Providence, in a position to have an impact on the future of this magnificent parcel, I feel obligated to offer a bold solution that would protect this open, green space from commercial development and preserve it for public recreational use. Years from now, I would be filled with remorse and regret if I didn’t at least try to offer a plan to preserve this special space for future generations of Townies.”

His vision even included a potential name for the property, “Metacomet Park,” which he likened to areas similarly set aside in surrounding communities.

“Do the residents of East Providence not deserve a public space like residents of so many of our neighboring cities and towns enjoy? Whether it be a walk through Haines Park in Barrington, a bike ride through Slater Park in Pawtucket or a jog through Roger Williams Park in Providence, our neighbors enjoy access to recreational opportunities and open, green space that we do not. The people of East Providence deserve those same opportunities.”

Rep. Amore alluded to the history of the club and the area in his remarks, noting Vets Parkway was designed by Frederick Olmsted Jr. “in his father’s grand tradition (Central Park in New York City, among others) of preserving and creating public green space for the benefit of us all.

“This proposal also fits perfectly into the state’s mission for the use of green space bond money, which appropriately funds and protects coastal features, farmland and wooded acreage all over the state. This urban green space cries out for that same protection.”

Rep. Amore, whose District 65 does not include but abuts the Metacomet property, highlighted as well the potential environmental and traffic concerns any potential redevelopment of the golf course could have on the neighborhood and the broader city.

“It is crystal clear that the residents of East Providence are opposed to the destruction of an open space and the re-development of Metacomet Country Club. It is also clear that the redevelopment of this historic golf course and transforming its open, green space into another development covered in asphalt will have an adverse impact on the quality of life of East Providence residents,” Rep. Amore wrote.

In addition, he cited former Executive Director of Save the Bay and former head of the New England office of the Environmental Protection Agency, Curt Spalding, who stated previously, “Keeping the entire site as open space serves as an insurance policy against climate change. Viewed through the understanding of how climate change will affect Narragansett Bay and the residents of East Providence, the rezoning of Metacomet to commercial or residential is an entirely wrong-headed decision.”

Rep. Amore’s statement continued, “While Professor Spalding has expertly articulated the long term public interest in preserving Metacomet from an ecological and environmental standpoint, the residents of East Providence have convincingly and passionately petitioned their government and expressed their desire to Keep Metacomet Green.

A sportsman in his own right, Rep. Amore, a former coach and currently the East Providence School District athletic director, concluded his statement by referring to a famous National Football League moment, a last-second, game-winning touchdown throw by Dallas Cowboys Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach in a 1975 playoff game against the Minnesota Vikings.

He wrote, “What I am proposing may be seen as a ‘Hail Mary’ pass, but, anyone who watches football knows that those passes connect on occasion and it changes the outcome of the game.”

2020 by East Bay Newspapers

Barrington · Bristol · East Providence · Little Compton · Portsmouth · Tiverton · Warren · Westport
Meet our staff
Jim McGaw

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.