NARRAGANSETT - At Tuesday’s Recreation Advisory Board meeting, Parks and Recreation Director Steven Wright gave an update on the town’s cleanup work post-Hurricane Sandy, as well as provide information on the status of a number of town buildings that have been identified for renovations by Wright.
“A lot of our buildings have not had any money put into them, and I am not a big advocate of throwing good money into bad,” said Wright.
Wright, who was selected by the town council as permanent Parks and Recreation director in July after a 30-year career with the Rhode Island Department of Management, has created an inventory of town buildings which need attention and has prioritized the most problematic structures for renovations.
Wright first discussed the roof of the Parks and Recreation center at Clarke Road, which has been in need of significant repairs, particularly the roof. In May, the town council turned down Wright’s request to have the roof replaced at a price of $94,745, quoted by local contractor Abcore Corporation, because council members felt it needed to go out to bid.
Because of the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, the town will now be able to associate roof repairs with other storm damages.
“We had the adjustor come down, and the roof is being replaced through the[town’s insurance provider] Interlocal Trust,” said Wright. “They hired C & L Builders to conduct work, and will put half-inch plywood on the roof. The town is paying $13,000 for [repairs] to the roof’s faissure and soffit, which is not covered by the Trust.”
“Although we will need to address siding and windows down the road, this is good news,” he added. “It is a beautiful building.”
At the October 22 regular meeting, the Town Council approved unanimously to create a master list of architectural/engineering contractors who might potentially be hired for town capital projects. The list will be used by the town as a resource for potential vendors, but according to the town, was not designed with any particular project in mind.
“There are a certain number of projects that require us to go outside for additional help, architectural and engineering projects we can’t do in house,” said Town Engineer Jeffry Ceasrine in October. “Following the lead of the council, we thought it was more appropriate to go out and create something similar to what the state does for a master pricing agreement.”
Wright also discussed improvements to town buildings such as the Gazebo in the Pier area and concession buildings at George C and Christofaro parks. The town has awarded a contract to Carrigan Engineering to redesign the parking lot entrance at the community center to improve its ADA accessibility.
An update on the town’s ongoing discussions with insurance and relief agencies in the wake of Hurricane Sandy was also given by Wright on Tuesday evening. Acting Town Manager Dean Hoxsie stated earlier this month that the town is looking at approximately $2 million in damages to Narragansett Town Beach and the buildings which rest on site.
Hoxsie noted, however, that that figure does not represent all out-of-pocket expenses, but will change depending on how much is covered by funding from the town’s insurance provider, RI Interlocal Trust, the National Flood Insurance Program, and ultimately the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
“There are over 100 items we’ve identified [in town], from a tree down to major structural damage to buildings, and we’ve met with everyone,” said Hoxsie at the time “[Town Engineer] Jeff Ceasrine will meet Saturday morning with the flood insurance folks.”
“We are well underway to doing all our FEMA work, such as documenting overtime and vehicles used, just everything done during the storm and in the aftermath,” he added. “That whole process started during the storm, and we track everything.”
Wright further expressed the same concerns from Hoxsie for the replenishment of the town beach itself. Engineering firm Woods Hole Group, which the town hired to analyze the beach’s sand loss after Sandy, estimates that approximately 20,000 cubic yards of sand was lost, and only 8,000 to 10,000 cubic yards have been collected into the beach parking lots. On Tuesday, Wright stated that the town met with FEMA to address the beach’s replenishment.
“FEMA acknowledged the sand in the parking lots,” said Wright. “So long as we sift the sand and put the work out to bid, we can place it back on the beach.”
“FEMA will not replace the 11-12,000 [cubic yards of sand] because Narragansett Town Beach is not an Army Corps of Engineers-engineered beach,” he added. “That is going to be a problem. Now, [the Engineering] department is putting plans together for that to go out to a formal bid.”
Wright also noted that the ramp at the town beach cabanas might not be covered, and addressed potential repairs to the south beach pavilion parking lot.
“Our internal discussion is it doesn’t make a lot of sense to spend a lot of money on that south lot,” said Wright. “We want to patch it and make it serviceable for this coming season, but don’t want to spend money on repaving the entire lot. We are working with Deepwater Wind and why have them come back in a year and dig it up again.”
The Middlebridge property, which was purchased by the town for $1,442,000 in August, sustained flood damage during Hurricane Sandy, and Wright stated the town’s efforts to properly permit and renovate the 9.51-acre property have now been delayed.
“The Parks and Recreation department was asked to manage [the Middlebridge property] on a day-to-day basis until the town council could establish policies and who would manage it,” said Wright. “We were on a pretty good track until the storm came because everything down there is below the flood plain.”
A number of the buildings on the property, including the restaurant and the cottages, were flooded.
“There are a lot of issues there to deal with,” he added. “We are just trying to keep things consistent there until the council decides what will happen to Middlebridge.”