EAST GREENWICH — The prospects of a new fire station being built in town got a little bit brighter last week.
East Greenwich Fire Chief Peter F. Henrikson addressed to the Board of Fire Commissioners Thursday evening, recommending that the Fire District enter a purchase and sales agreement for the site at the corner of Cedar Avenue and Post Road in the hopes of constructing a new Station 1.
Henrikson said he spoke with Paul Carcieri, the real estate engineer for the Rhode Island Department of Transportation, and Carcieri would like the Fire District to sign the purchase and sales agreement to show the RIDOT how serious the EGFD is interested in purchasing the property.
“They (RIDOT) are willing to help us anyway they can,” Henrikson said. “But they want a commitment from the Fire District and to show them that we are interested in the property.”
The property, which is for sale by the State of Rhode Island for $360,000, has been on the Fire District’s radar for a significant period of time and the site would be pristine to use and help replace the century-old Station 1 located on Main Street.
However, the matter of the site being a possible Narragansett Indian burial ground has created some concern on everyone involved with the EGFD, resulting in the municipality having to do its analysis into seeing if the belief is fact and whether or not it will have an effect on the possible deal.
Commissioner Philip Higgins stated there isn’t any mention in the purchase and sales agreement that if there are indeed Indian remains found after the archaeological study that there should be a reduction in price. Scott Spears, the legal counsel for the EGFD, said if that happens, the agreement will be “terminated” or there will be an inquiry to reduce the asking price.
According to Section 10 of the purchase and sales agreement for the 2.2-acre parcel of land, the Fire District has the right to examine the property “at its own expense,” performing tests and other analysis that may seem desirable. In the Fire District’s meeting back in January, the Fire Commissioners approved a little over $20,000 to perform a Phase II archaeological study on the site.
Section 10 states that if the Fire District has 120 days from the date of signing the agreement to notify the seller – the State of Rhode Island – if it’s not satisfied with the property and if the EGFD is displeased, it has the right to withdraw its consideration for purchase of the property via written notice and the deal would be voided without recourse to both parties.
Henrikson added that the Phase II archaeological study will begin in the next week or two, much ado to the archaeological company having to wait until the snow melted before commencing digging on the site and the process should take four weeks to complete.
“It will be a quick process,” Henrikson said.
Spears recommended that the closing date be pushed back to July 30 instead of having on the original June 30 date, just to allow more time in case any other weather-related issues occur that could hinder the project. The motion for that was approved unanimously by the Fire Commissioners.
“The way I have the dates changed, what it does it gives us the flexibility of not spending any money doing our due diligence until after we get over the hurdle of the Indian issue,” Spears said. “If we get over it safely, then we can move forward and we do what we need to do for due diligence. If we run into a brick wall and decide to reject the purchase and sales agreement, we would not have spent any money on it.”