West Warwick Town Council meets to discuss the future of the Arctic Gazebo
WEST WARWICK, R.I. (WLNE) — The West Warwick Town Council held a special meeting Tuesday night, looking to the community on how to deal with issues at the Arctic Majestic Gazebo.
The gazebo is currently closed and fenced off for repairs, it was also recently vandalized with hundreds of needles left in the area.
Tuesday night’s meeting was packed as community members demanded answers and solutions to a growing issue at the local park.
“But now we have, and I’ll go on the high side, maybe 40 people ruining the center of town for the other 30,000 people in this town — that is totally unacceptable,” said one resident during the public comment portion of the meeting.
Several options were discussed as possible solutions to vandalism and needles being left behind, including an increase in sanitation rounds, relocating resources like meals for the homeless to other areas, or increasing police presence around the park. The last option received the most outward support from residents.
Community members said things like housing, or a communal space could be viable a long-term solution.
“I think that we should have a community center like we do for the senior citizens and the kids. Have one so the homeless have somewhere to go, give us healthy things to do,” another resident, who identified herself as homeless and living in the area, said.
Residents said they don’t want the space to stay blocked off, but right now, the town hasn’t made a decision on what to do next.
“Again, if you can’t clear it out, then there’s really only one way to go. You know, and nobody wants to do that. That’s why we called this meeting, nobody wants to do that. But then it comes to, let’s handle the issue. If the issue isn’t stopping, you’ve tried, we’ve tried, what’s the next step,” said Councilman Jason Licciardi.
The town said it does plan on discussing a possible housing project at its next meeting on Monday, but the gazebo is not currently on that agenda.
Town staff said the repairs are expected to take weeks to finish, but no date has been set for it to be completed.