Auld lang syne

Thu, 12/28/2017 - 7:45pm

The last 12 months have been a whirlwind of change for Block Island.

The island made history when the five wind turbines started to send power our way back in May, but with everything that has been happening, that event, for some reason, seems a long time ago. Maybe because it was such a long time coming, but the offshore project continues to still generate interest all over the globe. 

The town also hired a new Town Manager, Ed Roberge, by way of New Hampshire, replacing another recent new Town Manager, whose brief tenure also seems in the distant past. Roberge will bring new perspective to this old town.

The Block Island Power Company is morphing into the Block Island Utility District, with its own Board of Directors and rules of operation. Rates may not be as low as many had hoped, but they at least remain steady.

The Fred Benson Beach Pavilion, whose condition has long been unworthy of that worthy name, is now getting a facelift, as well as a couple of dormitories to slightly ease the housing crunch seasonal workers face.

And speaking of housing, after a long vetting process, the island will site five new affordable homes, which has made many (not all) happy.

And local dispensing of plastic bags is no longer an option, thanks to a grassroots effort by a Block Island school student, promotion by the Planning Board, and adoption by the Town Council. As they said of the moonwalk, that’s one small step… but, in the end, a notable one. 

But many big steps were taken in 2017. A big year for a small place, laying the groundwork, we all hope, for a successful and Happy New Year.