EAST GREENWICH — The prospects of a new East Greenwich Fire Station 1 are going to be put on the backburner for the foreseeable future.
East Greenwich Fire Deputy Chief Russell McGillivray announced to the Town Council Monday evening that the Fire Department will be pulling out of its purchase and sales agreement it signed with the State of Rhode Island regarding the land that was for sale on the corner of Cedar Avenue and Post Road, citing that the property is now an “undocumented graveyard.”
A few months ago, the Fire District Board of Commissioners allocated funds to perform a series of archaeological studies on the land because it was believed to be a Narragansett Indian burial ground. During the Phase II study several weeks back, workers found the top of a human skull at the site.
With the discovery of the human remains, along with other possible extensive work on the land that the Fire Department may have to perform prior to completing the purchase, the EGFD decided that the land was no longer worth the trouble to be a possible destination for a new Station 1.
“It’s definitely not fiscally feasible to make it suitable,” McGillivray said.
The deputy chief added that the Trafalgar site across the street was already on the list as a National Historical site and he’s assuming it would get extended over to the Cedar Avenue-Post Road site.
Town Council President Michael Isaacs said that the Council would have to make a motion and vote at a future meeting to exercise an option to get out of the purchase and sales agreement, which McGillivray said the EGFD has until October to void the agreement.
As a possible auxiliary plan, McGillivray told the Council that the Board of Fire Commissioners authorized Chief Peter F. Henrikson to send a letter of interest to the United States Postal Service stating its appeal to maybe having the Post Road mail facility – which the USPS announced earlier this summer it will close the location in the near future – become a new fire station.
The Postal Service, according to McGillivray, has until the end of this month to receive as many letters of interest as possible before the USPS moves to “step two.” He said the USPS will have to assess all of the letters and do a “fair market value” of the property.
The EGFD doesn’t have a set alternative for a possible site for a new Station 1, according to McGillivray and there is no timetable as to when the Fire Department will explore new options for a site and when, or if, a new station will be built.