GLOCESTER – Parks in Glocester continue to be upgraded and improved with more additions coming, thanks to a $400,000 grant from the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, and a $150,000 grant from Commerce Rhode Island, along with local funds.
“Small towns have small budgets,” explained Town Planner Karen Scott, who has been key in obtaining the grants. “There is no way for the town to fund all the necessary improvements with budget funds alone; therefore, we are constantly searching for grant opportunities to leverage available funds and bring more resources to Chepachet Village and the town in general.”
Town Clerk Jean Fecteau said that Scott has been “invaluable” in obtaining grant after grant for town projects. Over the past several years, the town has been able to obtain more than $2 million dollars in grant funding with very little local town funds used as a match. Scott added that many of the grants brought direct cash investments to the town and only cost the staff time necessary to implement the program.
“Without the town’s amazing Department of Public Works, many of these construction projects would not be able to move forward,” she said. “The department, led by director Gary Treml, was key in planning and installing the improvements at the new playground, including basketball courts and the pedestrian path to the village, and they are assembling the pavilion currently under construction. For a small department they are able to make a huge impact on the town by always being willing to assist whenever needed.”
In addition to already completed projects, the pavilion, located in the park, will provide a large covered picnic area to supplement the limited outdoor tables offered by the restaurants, allowing patrons to walk a short distance to enjoy a meal in an area covered from the elements, providing shelter from passing showers and shade from the sun on hot days. The town constructed a pathway from the center of the village to the park as part of the grants.
Currently, the town is also working on constructing a bocce court for people to use in the Glocester Memorial Park near the village.
“This has been an important part of the park’s improvements put forth by the Senior Center,” Scott said. “The Glocester Lions have generously pledged $5,000 toward the project. I would ask that anyone willing to assist with the design, development or construction of a bocce court reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
At the recent Town Council meeting, the council approved $34,130 for a contract for with Beta Group, Inc. for the master plan for Glocester Memorial Park to move plans forward.
“The town is about to embark on a recreation master planning exercise for the remainder of Glocester Memorial Park and Winsor Park with an eye towards outlining projects that can be implemented using future grant funding,” explained Scott. “This will include an opportunity for public participation. It will kick off in August. We anticipate being able to take the projects outlined through this Master Planning process to apply for future grants to fund the construction.”
All details on how to participate will be published on the town’s website.