Four years later, North Providence settles DeMarco claim

Four years later, North Providence settles DeMarco claim

NORTH PROVIDENCE – Officials have settled a long-running claim against the town over the controversial closure of a CrossFit facility by agreeing to pay the landlords of that fitness center $50,000.

Mayor Charles Lombardi told The Breeze he and members of his administration agreed to pay the DeMarco family $50,000 as compensation for its troubles, a good deal less than the $85,000 the family had initially sought. That figure compensated the DeMarcos based on rent lost over a year and the $30,000 cost of renovating the building at 975 Charles St., said Lombardi. The DeMarcos previously said that they put close to $100,000 into the project.

The Town Council voted on June 27 to allow Lombardi to negotiate a final settlement on the DeMarco claim, a move that followed years of back-and-forth between the parties and attempts to avoid a lawsuit.

“This family needs to be made whole,” said the mayor last year. “I don’t think they were treated fairly.”

This is an unfortunate but necessary conclusion to a messy situation, said Lombardi, who has accepted some blame for the DeMarco family landing CrossFit as a tenant to begin with, as he introduced the parties. Though it was a town zoning representative who ultimately acted to enforce local rules, he emphasized that it was former council members who really pushed the cause of getting it shut down.

DeMarco could not be reached for comment this week.

The gym was shut down a short time after it opened in the spring of 2014 following numerous complaints from residents directly behind the commercial Charles Street zone, some saying they couldn’t sleep due to the thundering of the weights on the floor in the CrossFit facility.

CrossFit tends to be significantly noisier than many other workouts because it involves a lot of lifting weights off the floor and then dropping them, as well as exercises such as the tire flip.

Rosemarie DeMarco claimed that zoning employee Kelley Morris had no standing to issue a cease and desist order for the gym on April 11, 2014. Morris contended that zoning officials hadn’t given the green light for final authorization and said the gym didn’t fit existing zoning regulations.

The outcome of all of this has ended up being a positive on some level for the town, according to Lombardi, as it’s caused officials to be extra careful when it comes to attracting certain kinds of businesses to vacant spaces.

CrossFit had signed a $4,800-a-month lease to take over the entire building at 975 Charles St., and two other tenants had to move out to make way for the workout facility.