Lombardi seeks dedicated fund for Camp Meehan

Lombardi seeks dedicated fund for Camp Meehan

NORTH PROVIDENCE – Town officials should set aside all revenue generated from renting out the Camp Meehan Overlook facility off Douglas Avenue and put the money back into Camp Meehan/Notte Park, says Mayor Charles Lombardi.

The mayor was set to ask the Town Council Tuesday night, Feb. 6, to vote on creating the Overlook at Camp Meehan Fund.

Revenues typically go into the town’s general fund and are dispersed for various uses from there, said the mayor, and without a dedicated fund, it is too easy for the funds to be diverted elsewhere.

Lombardi said his goal continues to be to make Camp Meehan/Notte Park function all on its own, with no town taxpayer dollars pumped into it.

“I want to prove that we can generate enough revenue for this to be self-sustaining,” he said. Without a dedicated fund, revenue from the facility and other sources becomes “a mess” and it’s difficult to say whether the park is functioning independently, he said.

In total, the town has generated $40,000 through booking the facility since it first opened for its first event in August 2016, according to information provided by Lombardi. That figure doesn’t include events this spring and summer, when he said “bookings are pretty heavy.”

“The more people that go to a function there, the more now know that it’s there,” he said. Interest in the facility continues to intensify, with events now happening on many weekends. No one knew the facility was here when it opened in 2016, Lombardi said.

The first event booked in 2016 was an all-day family reunion, and the town has continued to host reunions, weddings and other events.

The building, which overlooks the Wenscott Reservoir and has a wrap-around porch, holds 130 people seated and 250 people standing, not including deck space.

Town groups also use the facility, and are given priority over outside renters, according to the mayor.

The overhaul of the town’s old recreation building into the Camp Meehan Overlook, completed in the summer of 2016, was paid for in part through state recreation grants and money from the North Providence Police Department’s $60 million in winnings through a settlement with Google in 2012.

Other improvements made since the town acquired the 15-acre North Providence section of the former Camp Meehan in 2012 have included a new trail system, teen center, playground, and roadway. Also planned are a boating center and amphitheater, among other amenities.