When the Government Claims All the Jewels

Another bond on the ballot today would have cash-strapped Rhode Islanders agree to take on more debt to buy waterfront land. Barbara Polichetti’s Providence Journal article sounds almost parodicly like a sales pitch:

And it’s hard to find anyone who disagrees.

Clearly, she didn’t look very hard.

Michael Sullivan, director of the state Department of Environmental Management, has called the three spots “three jewels” and said the bond offers citizens a rare opportunity to preserve key pieces of the state’s coastline.

Call now for this limited-time offer, and the government will throw in repairs at Fort Adams absolutely free (to the advocates who are requesting the money and the politicians who are backing them).
Personally, I find the rationale suspicious:

[Head of the Bay Co-Chair David] Riley and members of his group say they have looked up and down the New England coast and found that the India Point spot, with its view of the Bay, can be likened to other waterfront locations that have been transformed into popular tourist spots.
The possibilities for the bayside spot are virtually endless, he said, and could even include a seasonal farmer’s market with pushcarts.

If the spot is so desirable, with such limitless possibilities, why is it necessary for Rhode Islanders to buy it (presumably from a private party who currently owns it) so as to give folks like Mr. Riley the say-so about its usage? Farmer push carts? Really?
I’ll be voting “no” on this one. Ms. Polichetti should feel free to give me a call if she writes a follow-up article.

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13 years ago

I think what bothers me most about the India Park/Shooters deal is that there’s already a 3,000 foot-long park right there, and a community boating center. This proposal adds 400 feet to it. It’s not going to substantially improve the overall experience of the area very much, but people talk about it like it’s the Bee’s Knees.
Why not just sell it to someone who wants to open a kind of business that does very well near a park and the water: a bar or restaurant. Must everything be part-owned by the government?
The other thing that scares me is that I don’t think this enforces that the properties are kept for a specific purpose, it just authorizes the state to purchase them. The last thing I want is for the state to buy the waterfront property ‘to make it a public waterfront destination’ only to have a department from Smith Hill move in and use it as office space.

13 years ago

Also, what the heck, you can’t set up a farmers’ market with push carts on the other 3000-odd feet of the park?
TI have a nagging suspicion the building itself is going to have to be torn down, I hear it’s full of asbestos, and it looks like it’s barely standing. I guess that will be another bond issue for another year.

13 years ago

Vote NO!!! on all FOUR State Ballot questions….
Enough is Enough!

11 years ago

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