Town buys 20 properties from National Grid

Town buys 20 properties from National Grid

NORTH PROVIDENCE – The town has sealed the deal on the purchase of 20 properties of various shapes and sizes from National Grid in Marieville, giving plentiful options on helping to reshape the area to be a better place to live, says Mayor Charles Lombardi.

Among the plans for the lots, purchased for a total of $200,000, is to create new recreation space for residents, including a long-sought new playground and fields. A lot on Roosevelt Street is tentatively expected to house the playground.

In the end, said Lombardi, he expects to own all of these properties “for nothing” based on the purchase plan previously approved by the Town Council, as the town is not planning to retain all of the properties but to put them back to good use.

“We’re trying to get this done without utilizing any taxpayer dollars,” he said. “Right now we’re just in discussion as to where the recreation will be and what we will do with the other properties.”

One possibility for one of the larger properties, a 1-acre lot located at the end of Josephine Street near the Providence line, is for development of an athletic field, basketball courts, walking trails and other amenities.

“I’m excited about the opportunities,” he said.

Lombardi said a number of residents learned that the town would be purchasing properties, and he has spoken with several of them about the possibility of them purchasing properties that abut their own to add to existing lots “for protection.” When a resident knows that that 3,500 square feet of property has become available behind them, and it’s become available “for more than a fair market price,” it makes sense to purchase it to erase any question of what could happen to it, said Lombardi.

The mayor has long been an advocate for purchasing the properties closest to you, whether as a private resident or business owner, as a best practice.

Lombardi said back when news of the potential purchase was first announced in January that he expected some of the lots to be sold off for construction of new homes, but his primary goal in all of this, he maintains, is to save open space for future generations and improve quality of life in the neighborhood.

Many of the lots the town has purchased were once used for poles to run National Grid lines through the neighborhood, with the utility provider gaining easements for its assets.

Back in January, The Breeze reported that the town was pursuing 15 properties with the $200,000, but Lombardi confirmed this week that the number is 20.

“It’s substantial,” he said back in January of what the purchase would mean for the town. “It’s a no-brainer for the town to purchase these properties.”

In other news on town property transactions, Lombardi said he expects to have a signed deal within the next 30 days or so on the sale of the former public safety complex at 1967 Mineral Spring Ave. The mayor still expects to get at least $2.2 million for the property, a sale he has said will help the town control its tax rates.