EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — There’s growing pushback against plans to transform a golf course that’s been a fixture in East Providence for decades.
Residents who live near Metacomet Country Club say they’re concerned once this golf season is over, the property will turn into something completely different and they won’t have a say.
The potential new owners of the property say that’s probably the case — the property will change its look, but it will be in the best interest of the residents.
“If they got the okay, the people would have no say whatsoever. Keep it green! Keep it green!”
When Lynn Miller and four other concerned East Providence residents created the Facebook group “Keep Metacomet Green” they had no idea they’d have a crowd outside Lynn’s door during a scheduled interview with Eyewitness News on Sunday morning.
“You can see from the group out here that everyone’s concerned,” Miller said.
The nearly 2,200 members of the group say if Metacomet Country Club can’t stay a golf course, they want to have a say on what it becomes.
Marshall Properties, who does not own Metacomet yet, are asking East Providence to rezone the stage of developing the property. They’ve sent mailers about turning it into a mixed-use area of open land, residential, and commercial buildings.
“The traffic, the loss of wildlife habitat, the complete destruction of the quality of life to the surrounding neighborhoods,” Candy Seel said.
Residents’ immediate focus is stopping the city from allowing the property to be rezoned for that type of development.
“We are going to continue to listen. We know there’s concerns. We’re listening. We’re not ignoring them,” Seel said.
Eyewitness News took those concerns to Marshal Properties spokesperson Bill Fischer, who says after getting public input they’ve altered plans. They’re expanding the amount of open undeveloped land to 50%, or 71 acres.
“We will sign a contract to that effect, we will follow through on that,” Fischer said.
Residents fear once the property is developed it can never go back to how it was. Fischer says — the alternative will help the city.
“We know from the city’s own data that the city of East Providence – the population is on the decline,” he said. “This helps protect the tax base for the entire city.”
A public hearing concerning the future of the property is scheduled at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 11 at Martin Middle School, and will also be streaming on Zoom.