Letter: Gateway or roadblock?

Posted 12/2/21

To the editor:Unwelcoming, Uninspiring, Unimaginative. Those are the three words that came to mind when I read the article in the Nov. 10 Warren Times, featured on the front page. It was a proposal …

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Letter: Gateway or roadblock?


To the editor:

Unwelcoming, Uninspiring, Unimaginative. Those are the three words that came to mind when I read the article in the Nov. 10 Warren Times, featured on the front page. It was a proposal for the National Grid property near the Warren side of the Warren Bridge. It’s being called the Gateway development and, if built, would be the “Gateway to Warren”.

In a previous letter to the editor, Mr. Andrew Shapiro explained very eloquently what was wrong with this proposal from an architectural standpoint. As a Master Architect, he made one valid point after another about what was wrong with this proposal. While I couldn’t make the technical arguments that Mr. Shapiro made, I can make some visual and historic arguments.

My first reaction to the picture on the front page depicting the building proposal was, “it’s a WALL, not a GATEWAY!” Visually, I probably know the Warren Waterfront better than anyone. Having photographed it thousands of times in all seasons and all kinds of weather I feel, visually, it is the most quintessential New England Waterfront in New England. What we do here needs to enhance the view coming into Warren — not block it.

As people come over the bridge, they are met with two outstanding views. One, an expansive view north of the Palmer River, and an equally stunning view of the Warren River looking south. That alone should make people stop. If, after viewing these two scenes, we present people with an equally welcoming scene at the National Grid property and a place for them to stop to learn more about what’s here and where they can find it, people will stop.

The whole historic district is going through a renaissance. I have been here for 75 years and the town has never looked so good. We need to sell our colonial charm, our historic waterfront and native history. Before anything is done here, there should be a committee made up of people from the Preservation Society, Historic Commission, “Townies” who have deep roots here, etc., to come up with ideas that will enhance the property and fit in with what’s appropriate to a “Gateway”. It shouldn’t be decided by an architect with a penchant for 55-foot block buildings and a developer out to make a profit.

We have one chance to get this right. This proposal is not that chance.

Butch Lombardi
East Bay Images Photography

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Scott Pickering

Scott Pickering has been on the East Bay Media Group team for more than two decades, since starting as a reporter for the Sakonnet Times. He's been editor of most of the papers, was Managing Editor of all the papers for many years, and became General Manager in 2012. Today he can be found posting to EastBayRI.com, steering news coverage, writing editorials, talking to readers, working with the sales team, collaborating on design, or helping do whatever it takes to get the papers out the door. Reach him at spickering@eastbaymediagroup.com.