Two Diamond Hill Park projects advancing

Two Diamond Hill Park projects advancing

CUMBERLAND - Two projects at Diamond Hill Park are moving forward.

This week, the Town Council was expected to approve $6,900 to hire the Pare Corporation of Lincoln to do the engineering plans for repaving about an acre of the deteriorated parking lot.

And this month, the state Department of Environmental Management is accepting comments on the music venue upgrades that involve filling the pond in front of the stage.

While $40,753 remains in the town's capital improvement line item this year to fund the parking lot, according to Mayor Daniel McKee, changes to the music venue will require future grant awards.

On the parking lot, in addition to drawing up plans that include landscaping and striping, Pare will delineate wetlands, and do test pits to determine the existing subsurface conditions.

Pare's $6,900 bid was one of two by the firm. The alternative bid was for engineering of the entire parking lot of about three acres.

But that larger project has been jettisoned for now. Besides being more expensive, paving the entire parking lot would require adherence to updated state regulations that come with a raft of requirements about handling storm water runoff.

The one-acre project is exempt from those regulations and will be large enough, according to McKee, to accommodate parked cars at nearly all the park activities.

On the music venue, the DEM put out a call this month for comments on the town's plan to move the pond to behind the stage and open up the front of the stage to lawn seating for music performances.

Under the town's plan, which was submitted to the DEM more than a year ago, the town needs a wetlands alteration permit to fill the pond and then create a "wetland replication area" with a boardwalk.

The call for comments is good news, says George Gifford, the local landscape architect who not only submitted the lengthy permit application but updated the master plan governing future plans for the 90-acre park on the east side of Diamond Hill Road.

"It means we've passed through all the technical review and the application is proceeding nicely," he said.

He suggests the DEM has gone over the application "with a fine-toothed comb and rendered it fit for public notice."

Approximately 76,000 square feet, or 1.75 acres, of freshwater wetlands will be altered or disturbed.

The work will require filling, clearing, excavation, re-grading, temporary flow diversion, soil disturbance, modifying stormwater runoff, landscaping and other construction related disturbance, the DEM notes.

Landowners within 200 feet of the project, as well as members of the Planning Board, Conservation Commission, Zoning Board of Review and other interested parties were invited to comment about concerns by Monday, May 12.

Gifford points out that plans for the park are really "old news" since residents have participated in, or been told about, all steps of the process.

He noted that the only landowner within 200 feet of the project is the town, but that any citizen may submit a comment by the deadline to the DEM, 235 Promenade St., Providence, RI 02908-5767. See the full set of plans in the Office of Town Clerk at Town Hall, 45 Broad St., Cumberland, or call Angela Spadoni at 401-222-4700, ext. 7307 with questions.

DEM officials will determine later if any of the comments are substantive enough to trigger a public hearing.

Comments

RIDEM's public notice says that "This notice is NOT authorization to do any work or to proceed with the project!" The purpose of the notice is to inform the public.......One can comment on proposed projects impact on the functions and values provided by the wetlands as it relates to: Protection of life and/or property from flooding....., the impact of the project as it relates to: providing & maintaining high value recreation areas, providing and maintaining water quality and providing and maintaining surface and/or ground water supplies by acting as a recharge or discharge and providing and maintaining valuable wildlife habitat.

The list provided above comes from RIDEM's public notice. Typo: should read: the proposed project's impact.......