BURRILLVILLE – The Burrillville Town Council has taken the first small step toward improving infrastructure in the village of Nasonville, authorizing Northeast Water Solutions, Inc. to provide engineering services to lay out options for a future project.
Funding for the service was allocated from the town’s American Rescue Plan Act allotment at the council’s last meeting on Wednesday, June 28.
“This is the very first step to figure out what the options even are,” explained Councilor Dennis Anderson at the meeting.
It was clear that for some doing business in the village, the project can’t come soon enough.
Heather Ross, the owner of Atlas Pallet Corp. on Old Mill Street in Nasonville told councilors that the business is in need of a steady water supply.
“It has been my family’s pleasure since the mid-70s to call Burrillville our home,” Ross told councilors. “I love growing our business here and I aim to continue growing our business here. In order to do so, water is really essential.”
Ross’s father founded the pallet recycling business in the 1950s and she noted that in current times, as businesses look to offset carbon emissions, the potential for growth is immense.
“We were recycling pallets long before recycling was a sexy word,” Ross said. “It’s finally coming to the forefront for some businesses.”
Meanwhile, Atlas’s fire suppression system, she noted, is fed by the nearby Branch River. And when a neighboring residence caught fire in recent years, firefighters had to run hoses through the Atlas plant to get to the river.
“I think we could do better,” Ross said.
The extension of public water lines was also a major element in plans the Burrillville Redevelopment Agency has laid out for the village, which include redevelopment of the former Nason Mill.
“A public water system is viewed as fundamental to the future development of the mill and village,” notes the agency in their vision for Nasonville.
Jeff Lambert and Dennis Darveau, who own the former mill property, received Planning Board approval in 2008 for a preliminary design of, “Nason Mill Landing,” to create a mixed use structure with housing and retail on the site, but have said the economy halted their efforts. The pair is currently working on revised plans to make the project more viable and move forward, which is soon expected back before the board.
Tentative plans discussed in recent years envisioned increasing the number of one and two bedroom units in the building from 45 to 67, and adding a rooftop deck where tenants can overlook the river and waterfall.
While the property does have a well on site, BRA Chairman Jim Langlois said, “That’s a general given,” in terms of public water making to project more viable and appealing.
“All of the businesses we’ve talked to down there – and huge businesses that could invest – have ellucidiated that public water and sewer are essential,” Langlois told NRI NOW this week.
Further along Douglas Pike at 0 Walling Road by the Industrial Foundation of Burrillville has submitted preliminary plans for the Nasonville Residential Development, with hopes to build 21 two-bedroom homes.
Langlois noted that BRA is currently working on defining boundaries of the Nasonville Redevelopment District, which are expected to go before the Town Council this October.
And while the town must now wait for the outcome of the Northeast Water Solutions study, it seems options do exist. BRA notes that an existing public water system east of the village is managed by the Whitinsville Water Company, and the Harrisville Fire District is another potential provider.