First proposal for town's Broad Street lot is from BV Prep school

First proposal for town's Broad Street lot is from BV Prep school

McKee suggests commercial use beneficial for Currier lot, then proposes tax-exempt charter school building there

CUMBERLAND - Mayor Daniel McKee readily agrees that it was his idea to put the 1.3-acre Currier Playground up for sale this year.

The land at 52 Broad St. is too valuable not to develop for commercial use, he told The Breeze in a story last month. It was listed with broker Tom McNulty for $250,000.

Tonight, May 30 at 7 p.m., the Planning Board will see its first proposal for the site - a new, tax-exempt elementary school building by the Blackstone Valley Prep Mayoral Academy that McKee founded.

Up for their review is a 40,000-square-foot, two-story school building where the skateboard ramps are currently located. Parking is provided at the rear of the lot and on the northern side, backing up to Titus Street properties.

The town-leased parking lot on the corner of Broad Street and Lusitana Avenue is not part of the deal.

This Broad Street site would put a second Rhode Island Mayoral Academy school close to the existing B.V. Prep elementary at 291 Broad St.

It's valued by the town at $2.9 million, and also tax-exempt.

Director of Planning and Community Development Kelley Morris said this week the proposal is in its earliest stage and she couldn't offer much detail before Thursday night.

A school would be permitted by special exception granted by the Zoning Board of Review, she said, but the applicant may want to rezone it to Commercial-1 to avoid the need for future approvals for structure changes.

McKee told The Breeze a month ago that he was hoping to sell the Currier lot to an enterprise that will create jobs and stimulate commerce in the Valley Falls area.

He says now that he's declining questions because of his conflict of interest.

Questions were referred to Solicitor Thomas Hefner who was not immediately available.

The Breeze has also reported on B.V. Prep's difficulty in finding space for expansion within the Valley Falls-Pawtucket area. New state law has made the conversion of former mills virtually cost prohibitive because of the restrictions on developing any site that may have contained hazardous materials.

A new classroom addition is going on this summer at the 291 Broad Street school, said McKee.