Currier Park sale complete
Currier Park sale complete
CUMBERLAND - Civic Builders of New York took ownership of the Currier Park last Friday, paying the town the full asking price of $249,000, even as state Rep. Jim McLaughlin continued to raise red flags about construction of a new middle school in a neighborhood that's experienced a couple of cave-ins related to two 19th-century coal mining operations.
At the same time, Building Official Neil Hall told The Breeze an outside consultant has finished reviewing the geotechnical designed-based report of Pare Engineering in Lincoln and verified its finding that there's no indication of danger from underground voids.
"I have gone to the maximum extent the building code allows," Hall told The Breeze about reviewing the project in anticipation of issuing a building permit.
Noting that he's not a geologist, Hall said that state law permits a community to seek out a peer review, that is, a review of the engineering work by a disinterested third party. Hall says the state Building Official's Office recommended the extra precaution. The peer review was performed by a firm of Cumberland's choice, Barry S. Porter & Associates of Cambridge, Mass., he said.
It reviewed the findings of 14 test borings scattered around the 1.3-acre site, some of which were 25 feet deep.
Neither coal nor voids were reported.
According to the technical report, which restates Pare's findings, the profile was reported "to consist of up to about 8.5 feet of existing granular fill overlying up to about 9 feet of naturally deposited glacial outwash sand overlying up to about 9 feet of naturally deposited ground moraine" or glacial debris.
Groundwater was found in three of the test boring at depths of about 10 to 15 feet.
Currier Park, across from Town Hall on Broad Street, was offered for sale early this year by the town at the suggestion of Mayor McKee, who said developing the site could enhance economic development more than a park.
Later, Blackstone Valley Prep, the mayoral academy founded by McKee, was the single best-bidder for the land and acquired it after concessions were offered about parking and traffic concerns. Civic Builders will build and own the three-story middle school building and lease it to BV Prep in an arrangement that could lead to the school acquiring it.
It will have no basement, it will stand 76.5 feet tall and cover 18,450 square feet of the site.
McLaughlin, who represents Central Falls and Valley Falls at the General Assembly, has been virtually a lone voice on the dangers he perceives in the area, although the district's Town Council member, Manuel DaCosta, also opposed the school construction.
Last week he secured information from the federal Department of the Interior that in May of 2005, following a cave-in on Chase Street, recommended filling the hole that was 6 feet in diameter and widened to 12 feet beneath the surface and extended 17 feet vertically.
Within weeks it was accomplished by J.H. Lynch & Sons.
Mayor Daniel McKee has been critical of McLaughlin's aggressive challenges to the school plan, suggesting "this is nonsense and needs to stop."
McKee says McLaughlin could jeopardize area homeowners and businesses as they attempt to sell or secure refinancing from lenders or buyers who become skittish about the area.
About the town's inspection of the school building going forward, McKee said Cumberland has monitored the construction of far larger buildings at the Highland Corporate Park. "This is not a difficult task and we will make sure it is done right."
The Currier-Chace Play Lot and Currier Park is named for Andrew Currier, a mid-19th century Fall River native who was an agent for the Albion Company and Valley Falls companies, served on the Town Council for six years and was a member of the Republican State Central Committee. He was married in 1875 to Lucy Clark, a daughter of John Clark, the long-time town clerk who managed the town.
The mansion Currier built at this site was occupied by a daughter, Carrie Currier, until her death at age 91 in 1966. The town demolished the structure and carriage house after years of neglect and created the park.
It's expected to be replaced by a recreation site behind the nearby B.F. Norton School and another community area on Wildwood Street where the town acquired the Sousa family's flooded-out residence using federal funds.