Lincoln considers selling land to North Providence

Lincoln considers selling land to North Providence

LINCOLN – North Providence Mayor Charles Lombardi is hoping to purchase some land in Lincoln to enhance what he calls his town’s “crown jewel” at Camp Meehan and Notte Park off Douglas Avenue.

Lombardi has begun talks with Lincoln Town Administrator Joseph Almond about the possibility of acquiring more acreage from the former camp.

“Due to the lack of open space in North Providence, we continue to do more with less. The Camp Meehan facility has become the jewel of recreation in our town,” Lombardi wrote in a letter to Lincoln officials. “At the present time, it appears as though the town of Lincoln has no plans for the land that abuts North Providence.”

Lincoln owns more than 30 acres of land on two parcels next to the park in North Providence.

North Providence previously purchased about 18 acres of its land from the nonprofit that ran Camp Meehan, and Lombardi says he would love to add 10 or 12 more acres on the Lincoln side.

“We could use a few more acres,” he said. “We have the least amount of open space in the state.”

Lincoln has enormous amounts of open space, he said, adding that Lincoln isn’t currently using the land and would be welcome to access it after any deal. He said Almond indicated that a purchase could be doable.


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Lombardi has requested a meeting with Almond or the Lincoln Town Council. He is looking to submit a Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management grant application for the Camp Meehan land by June 5, but Almond said last week that the best Lincoln could do by June 5 is begin talks.

Lombardi said he believes the agreement “would be a win-win for both municipalities and the residents of both towns.”

Almond said during last week’s council meeting that the land in Lincoln that abuts Notte Park is mostly passive recreation, with a second parcel open to development.

Almond said he doesn’t intend to go further into discussions with Lombardi about purchasing abutting land unless the council agrees to it. He did not know how much land Lombardi was interested in, or his intended timeframe for purchasing the land.

Once that information is shared, Almond said, officials could begin to negotiate a sale.

Lincoln Councilor Ken Pichette said he can’t remember a time when the town “sold off” a parcel to another town, and asked whether it was a normal practice.

“It seems strange to sell off part of the town,” he said.

Councilor T.J. Russo asked whether the town lines would be adjusted, or if North Providence would simply own land in Lincoln. Almond said it would not change town lines, and that the towns already share some land.

“A small portion of the building there crosses the line into Lincoln,” he said. “We granted an easement several years ago so they have control of the building.”

Almond said the agreement would give North Providence permission to use and technically own and pay taxes on the land. Lombardi agreed that an agreement would not change town lines.

North Providence’s Camp Meehan/Notte Park space can be accessed from Lincoln via Angell Road, but access is closed off so Lincoln residents don’t experience added traffic when there’s programming taking place in the North Providence park.

Lincoln councilors all agreed that a potential sale is worth taking a closer look at.

Shortly after becoming mayor in 2007, Lombardi helped prevent a condo development from going in at the North Providence side of the former Camp Meehan space near the Wenscott Reservoir and the town was eventually able to purchase the property as open space using grant funds. Additional improvements to the park since then have been made using several other grants.

Comments

Kudos to Mayor Lombardi for preventing condos at Camp Meehan. I wish other towns had done the same, notably Tiverton whose massive condo complex overlooking the Sakonnet River destroys the landscape there.