Cranston residents uneasy with proposal of Topgolf heading to Chapel View area

By: Amanda Pitts

alpitts@abc6.com

@APittsABC6

CRANSTON, R.I. (WLNE) — Community leaders in Cranston were taken on a walkthrough of the vacant Citizens Bank building Saturday, a property that Topgolf has its eye on. But residents are concerned about the noise and traffic that will come along with it.

“Having Topgolf locate here in the city of Cranston would really be a feather in Cranston’s cap,” said Joe Pierik of Carpionato Group.

The Texas-based company combines the game of golf with entertainment and is looking to expand in the Northeast.

The location they’re interested in is the former Citizens Bank property along Route 37, empty since the bank left this past summer for a new campus in Johnston.

“It’s the only possible location they’d consider in the entire state of Rhode Island,” said Pierik.

Developers of the property, Carpionato Group, say finding a company to fill the over 300,000 square foot building is not an easy task. That’s why they want to make changes to the property to fit Topgolf’s needs.

They plan to knock down over 100,000 square feet of the building, using the remaining portion for retail and office space. A part of the parking lot would then be used for Topgolf.

With its close proximity to Chapel View, residents aren’t happy.

“It is noise, light pollution… it’s basically a nightclub.”

Pauline DeRosa, an 18-year resident of Cranston and leader of the Garden City Alliance, fears that the already heavy traffic in the area will get worse.

She also worries the noise will disrupt the way of life in her quiet community.

“Topgolf is a party venue. It will look like an amusement park at night from Route 37, and will look like a huge baseball stadium during the day.”

Developers took City Council and Planning Board members on a tour Saturday, assuring them that the sound would be buffered by the freeway, and traffic is being addressed the RIDOT.

“Clearly we are in favor of development; however, this development is way beyond the norm for Chapel View,” said DeRosa.

The Carpionato Group will formally present their proposal to Cranston’s Planning Commission on Tuesday night.

Topgolf would be expected to open in the fall of 2020 and would hire around 200 employees.

(c) WLNE-TV 2018