Mayor issues statement, letters addressing Metacomet matter

DaSilva says he’s “exploring all options available” to the city

By Mike Rego
Posted 9/29/20

EAST PROVIDENCE — Mayor Bob DaSilva has chimed in the ever-burgeoning debate over the status of the Metacomet Golf Club, issuing a statement Tuesday morning, Sept. 29, in response to a …

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Mayor issues statement, letters addressing Metacomet matter

DaSilva says he’s “exploring all options available” to the city

Posted

EAST PROVIDENCE — Mayor Bob DaSilva has chimed in the ever-burgeoning debate over the status of the Metacomet Golf Club, issuing a statement Tuesday morning, Sept. 29, in response to a suggestion made by State Representative Gregg Amore the afternoon prior about East Providence potentially purchasing the 138-acre parcel through the eminent domain process.

On September 28, Rep. Amore offered up a proposition of the city using municipal bonds and seeking both governmental and non-profit sector funding to support an effort to purchase the course instead of allowing the ongoing and publicly contentious private sale process to take place.

In a statement, the mayor said he is working the solicitor’s office to “explore all options available” to the city as Marshall Properties attempts to buy the land and redevelop it.

Late last week, Marshall withdrew its petition to have the property rezoned and its oversight shifted to the auspices of the East Providence Waterfront Commission, an effort it called “Plan A.” Rather, the company stated its intention to go through the purchase and pursue development under existing zoning ordinances, what it refers to as “Plan B.”

“I do appreciate Rep. Gregg Amore’s support on this issue,” Mayor DaSilva said in the statement. “Acquiring this property would be a very expensive proposition and a burden to our taxpayers at a time when we are building and financing a state-of-the-art $189 million high school and dealing with financial uncertainties due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We welcome any financial assistance from the state that Rep. Amore may be able to offer to help to fund any type of acquisition,” the mayor added. “As mayor, I would welcome the opportunity to purchase this property for residents to enjoy for generations to come. I believe eminent domain is an option that should only be used as a last resort.”

The mayor’s comments Tuesday included separate letters sent to both Rep. Amore and Lianne Marshall, co-owner of the company.

To Rep. Amore, Mayor DaSilva wrote in part, “As Mayor, I believe eminent domain should only be used as a last resort, however it remains an option. I have been dealing with this issue for many months, and welcome your comments and ideas now that the request for a zone change was withdrawn.”

The mayor’s correspondence to Ms. Marshall included the following, “While Marshall Properties sought public input and modified their original plans to incorporate buffer zones, public access and donation of public space, it is my belief that much more needed to be done. The public made it evident that they did not support the original or modified plan.”

It concluded, “I am writing to advise you that I do not support Marshall’s Plan B as proposed. I will be working with the residents of this City and other elected officials to explore the path forward for the City.”

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