Renovations on tap for Albion, Chase Farm parks

Renovations on tap for Albion, Chase Farm parks

The restroom and concession facility at Albion Park on Berkshire Drive will see renovations thanks to a grant from the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management and the town's voters. (Valley Breeze photo by Jessica Boisclair)

LINCOLN - The water-damaged structure that currently sits at the forefront of Albion Park will soon be replaced with a more modern facility as the town continues to upgrade its recreational areas.

Lincoln was one of 26 communities to receive grant money for open space development in the state.

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management awarded half of the money toward the $350,000 project to Lincoln, while the voters at the Financial Town Meeting approved the remaining portion.

"From Burrillville to New Shoreham, these grants will allow local communities to invest in our outdoor recreational assets, as well as have the opportunity to upgrade facilities and create local jobs," Gov. Lincoln Chafee said in a press release. "Great parks encourage people to get outside, be active and get healthy. They also showcase the benefits of living in our communities."

According to the grant application, the proposed project will replace the existing 40-year-old wooden restroom and concession facility with three new ADA-accessible restrooms.

In addition, a covered picnic shelter will be constructed onto the building, which will accommodate six tables, and a new park entrance will be designed with paved pathways leading to the picnic shelter and restroom facility.

The existing 4.5-acre park has a baseball field, basketball court, a children's playground area and parking.

Newly paved walkways will be extended to the playground area and basketball court, which will be resurfaced and relined as part of the grant.

Albert Ranaldi, town planner, said the town has been working for 13 years to upgrade its public parks and Albion will be the last place to have its restrooms and concession stands renovated.

"We started in Fairlawn and every other year we received grant funding and we'd tackle another park within the town," he said. "And one of the major elements in these parks is restroom facilities and shading, so our first thing whenever we go to a park is to integrate those features."

Ranaldi said local residents, groups and organizations utilize every park in town, especially during the summer.

Albion Park is a major site for the town's youth playground programs and is used by the town's youth soccer and Little League in the fall, spring and summer.

While the Albion Park project is much larger, Chase Farm Park will also see new restrooms in its future.

The voters at the FTM approved the allocation of $20,000 to match the $100,000 DEM grant awarded to the town for the project.

Two eco-friendly handicap accessible composting toilets will be installed on the property for year-round use.

According to the grant application, the unit's wastewater system is self-contained and does not create any pollution.

The manufacturer of the composting toilets, who will be contracted annually, will be responsible for routine maintenance for the facilities, while the Parks and Recreation Department will clean and stock the units.

Ranaldi said the town got the idea for eco-friendly toilets from DEM officials, who use them in their public parks.

"Usually we put porta-pottys in the park and there's a lot of maintenance to keep them in a presentable form, so this will definitely help the town," he said.

Although the new facilities will allow for year-round use of the park, town officials do not anticipate an increase in maintenance or upkeep.