NORTH PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — An effort to turn what some have referred to as an eyesore in the Marieville neighborhood of North Providence into a playground has hit a wall.
National Grid, who owns the vacant lot on Charlotte Street, is refusing to sell it to the town, but talks to develop another parcel are moving forward.
Joseph Ricci has lived in North Providence for decades and as long as he can remember, the land has been vacant and overgrown. He was among the volunteers who spent Saturday morning cleaning up the neighborhood.
“I see a lot of people here it’s inspiring and very good to see the people involved today,” Ricci said.
Councilman Ken Amoriggi, President of the Marieville Neighborhood Partnership, says the town has been asking National Grid to clean up the land and they are finally seeing some results.
“Asking them to come mow the lawn, trim trees and weed whack, and they never did. I think just through force of will with the neighborhood, they have started doing it,” he said.
The group says the plot’s central location makes the perfect spot for a park.
“It’s just been sitting there as an eyesore and really could be a resource to the town,” Amoriggi said.
“National Grid has been very very good in working with us. We have a number of properties here that we’re looking to purchase from them. But it’s unfortunate this particular parcel of land right here, that they have future plans for,” Mayor Charles Lombardi said.
National Grid did commit to maintaining the property by landscaping it monthly and replacing the rusted chainlink fence.
The company issued the following statement about the property:
“The parcel of land at One Charlotte Street is not available for sale as that particular location will be needed for future National Grid operational purposes. However, we understand the effort and enthusiasm that the town council and the Marieville neighborhood partnership has garnered for a new playground site, which is why National Grid has offered the town its choice of sixteen other parcels (adjacent to the Charlotte Street parcel) available for sale. Our hope is that the town will fulfill its plans for a playground area on any one of these other parcels or a combination of those parcels. Additionally, National Grid is committed to taking steps to improve the appearance of the Charlotte Street property. The first step was removing the jersey barriers, which was recently completed. A post and beam style fence will be installed this summer. National Grid will also landscape the property monthly (beginning within the next month) as we do with the other sixteen parcels that link together and, at one time, accommodated an electrical pole line route.”National Grid
Mayor Lombardi said he’s already in the process of finalizing plans to buy a similar lot across the street for the future playground.
“We maybe won’t be one hundred percent satisfied but we’ll be ninety-five percent satisfied,” he said.