Angelica Textile

The Angelica Textile property at 482 Pawtucket Ave. in Pawtucket.

PAWTUCKET – The most likely use for the former Angelica Textile Services property at 482 Pawtucket Ave. is either industrial and manufacturing space, with the next up being potential residential conversion, say city officials.

Director of Administration Dylan Zelazo, in a response to City Councilor Clovis Gregor seeking the city’s purchase of the Angelica property to convert it into recreation space to replace Morley Field, said that though the building would lend itself to this use, there are issues both with the structure and environmental concerns that would need to be considered.

Acting Planning Director Mike Cassidy and Deputy Director Jay Rosa, in a Dec. 21 memo up for discussion at a Jan. 5 council meeting, noted that Gregor had asked the administration about the possible acquisition of the 1.67-acre Angelica property in November, before a Dec. 8 meeting where he presented it to the council.

Gregor received repeated criticism from colleagues at that meeting for seemingly wanting the city to jump straight to purchasing the property without following certain steps first.

Rosa and Cassidy said the most viable approach, due to the National Park Service’s time constraints on completing the replacement of the Morley Field facility with another property of the same size, is to target a single site that has limited, if any, environmental issues and doesn’t require demolition of existing structures.

They said the National Park Service’s expectation is that the replacement recreation facility should be delivered within two years of approval of the conversion plan, and that timeframe would likely not be met if cleanup and demolition at the Angelica property are needed.

“The NPS recreation conversion standards also clearly emphasize environmental justice, (so) the use of the Angelica site as part of the land swap proposal may not be an acceptable replacement property if the site is potentially a brownfield site,” they said.

They also noted that the Angelica property is actually five properties on opposite sides of Dartmouth Street, and that the primary parcel with the building measures 1.25 acres, well short of the size needed to add a soccer field as Gregor suggested.

The two said they are aware that there is limited viable land in Council District 5 based on lot size requirements and hurdles to redevelopment, but acquiring and demolishing the former laundry business will still require the city to find another parcel of land measuring at least three acres to satisfy National Park Service requirements.

The city recognizes the importance of recreation and green space in Woodlawn, as evidenced by the $1 million invested in Payne Park in 2019, said Cassidy and Rosa, and the Planning Department has also worked closely with various community garden groups to activate underutilized green space.

“We agree with Councilor Gregor that opportunities to improve both active and passive recreation amenities is a priority within the Woodlawn neighborhood and city-wide,” they wrote.

Though the former Angelica property is marked for sale, they said they don’t recommend that the city pursue acquiring it, at least not as part of the strict National Park Service conversion process.

“The administration is committed to providing additional green space throughout this city, especially in the fifth district,” they said.

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