Mayor Charles Lombardi

NORTH PROVIDENCE – Gaining revenue and maintaining some of the town’s scarce remaining open space, town officials are preparing to sell two more properties previously purchased from National Grid in the Marieville neighborhood.

Both of the properties, totaling about a half-acre combined, will be added to existing abutting residential lots for residents to be able to enhance their properties.

Mayor Charles Lombardi was prepared to present the sale of a property on Charlotte Street on Tuesday evening, Oct. 5. The Ricci family had the option to purchase the property for $5 per square foot if they wanted to build on it, he said, and $2.50 per square foot if they would agree to a conservation agreement prohibiting development. The purchaser went with keeping the property as open space with no construction allowed, more than doubling the size of their existing property.

“That will be stipulated in the deed conservation easement,” said Lombardi.

Andolfo Appraisal Associates completed an appraisal on the property to come up with those dollar figures in the accepted offer, according to the mayor.

Both the homeowner on Charlotte Street and another one now in talks with the town to purchase a property nearby and behind the Charlotte Street property on Josephine Street were looking to improve their properties and protect their assets, said Lombardi.

Negotiations with the second family were ongoing this week, and though Lombardi had put both purchases on the agenda for Tuesday’s council meeting, he said the second one, for the Josephine property covering more than 9,000 square feet, wouldn’t be ready for a vote.

Town officials are also doing some homework now on the sale of a couple of additional former National Grid properties on Oliver and Ann streets, said Lombardi. Most of the properties previously purchased from the utility giant in the Marieville area are smaller, in the 4,000-square-foot range.

Lombardi this week reiterated his guarantee that the town will recoup all of the $200,000 taxpayers previously spent on 20 lots purchased from National Grid, and more. If residents can also improve their properties and keep additional space from being developed, those are bonuses for the town and its residents, he said.

“We made it very appealing with no construction,” he said. “That’s why we offered it to neighbors first.”

The Ricci family will now have some 250 feet of frontage and a great property, Lombard said.

“It’s worth it for the town to encourage these people to enter a conservation agreement, and it protects the town,” he said.

Down the road 10 or 15 years, Lombardi said, if the residents have a change of heart and do want to build, the town would likely have the land reappraised and have the owners pay the difference.

In a separate move on Tuesday, Lombardi was prepared to ask the Town Council to transfer some funds to complete construction of a handicapped-accessible playground on another property purchased in the National Grid batch.

The cost of the playground will be about triple the cost of other playgrounds because it is built to accommodate children with disabilities, or about $330,000, said Lombardi. Grant money will pay for at least part of the project.

Lombardi credited local parents with their advocacy for this playground, including the late Ian Novacek’s mom, Heather Callanan.

“These are the things that we have to do as a town,” said Lombardi, and adding a playground also preserves open space.

Many of the lots the town purchased from National Grid were once used for poles to run utility lines through the neighborhood, with the utility gaining easements for its assets.

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