Barrington is a few days away from beginning a study of how to halt shoreline erosion once and for all at Latham Park on Narragansett Bay in the Bay Spring neighborhood.
A proposal from EA Engineering Science &Technology Inc., an environmental consulting firm, will go before the Town Council at its meeting on Monday evening, March 12, said Town Planner Phil Hervey. Click here for the EA website and a brief video introduction to the company.
The firm will collect data, provide feasible options, hold public workshops and meetings, and write grants for potential state or federal funding, said Hervey. The cost of the study is estimated at about $18,500.
Halting erosion of the shoreline at Latham Park has always been part of the master plan for the site. It got renewed attention early last fall from a push by two neighborhood groups who want to renovate the playground at the park, albeit with competing proposals.
The groups could not agree on a compromise playground plan. But they did manage to get the Parks and Recreation Commission to endorse erosion control first before approving any playground for the park – and the sooner the better.
“We voted for the Town Council to direct the town manager to address the erosion problem before any playground is approved,” said former commission chairman Melissa Horne. See the Patch story.
The town councilors did just that by a unanimous 5-0 vote after hearing Horne say: “Erosion there is pretty well documented. Before more investment is made, we need to make sure the improvements are protected.”
Phase One of the master plan for Latham Park does recognize that the shoreline needs to be stabilized first. Much later in the plan does it touch on creating a new play area.
The town drafted an RFQ (request for qualifications) to solicit the expertise needed to study the site and develop cost estimates for what Town Manager Peter DeAngelis Jr. describes as a “shovel-ready project.”
“It’s time we had a good, sound concrete plan,” DeAngelis said last year.
It is the lack of funds for Latham Park – funds from a recreation bond that were shifted to Barrington Beach instead -- that put the master plan on the shelf even as a new playground was being sought.