Voters’ choice

Fri, 04/23/2021 - 10:30am

To the Editor:

After months of work by the Town Council, the Land Trust, the Block Island Conservancy, and The Nature Conservancy, the Town Council voted at its meeting last night
to put forward to the Financial Town Meeting a proposal to purchase the open space portion of what is commonly referred to as the Overlook property, located between Champlin’s Marina and the Salt Pond Settlement.
Getting to this point was not easy – negotiations were complicated and necessarily confidential, and there was the obvious “sticker shock” associated with the purchase
price and the request that the town contribute $4.5 million of the $10.5 million deal, with the conservation groups committed to funding the remainder. At the end of the day,
the groups felt that the opportunity is unique and, given the current market, urgent. This purchase is an essential part of guaranteeing high quality access for residents to the Great Salt Pond, while conserving one of our island’s most precious resources. It also provides the opportunity for the Town to construct long-needed Harbors Facilities and to protect the pond from further commercial development. The agreement builds upon the robust and enviable partnership that has existed on Block Island for generations.
That partnership, among the town and its residents, the Land Trust, conservation organizations, and donors, has focused not just on preserving land, but on encouraging the
enjoyment of our island’s natural beauty by residents and visitors alike.
As you’d expect, many of us spent hours reflecting on the value of a transaction of this magnitude, and we expect that there will be a great deal of discussion about it
between now and the Financial Town Meeting. We’re very excited about the opportunity this purchase presents to finally guarantee access to the pond for our residents and
Harbors Department, and we look forward to hearing from the community.
Keith Stover, Sven Risom, Mark Emmanuelle, Dorrie Napoleone, Chris Littlefield, Scott Comings, Barbara MacMullan