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Police Cove Park Fun Has Begun

The committee, consultants and town planner met Tuesday evening to take the first steps toward making a park at Police Cove in Barrington a reality.

The fun has begun for the committee and consultants designing a new park at Police Cove in Barrington.

Members of the Police Cove Park Committee met with the consultants from Vanasse Hanglin Brustlin and Town Planner Phil Hervey Tuesday evening to iron out details for the final plan and to look at potential amenities, such as benches and shrubs and pavement materials.

The group also heard a brief presentation from Bill Dessel, owner of Billy’s Restaurant in Barrington and Billy’s food truck, on criteria that should be used for selecting food vendors to set up in the park.

VHB, especially land-use specialist Steve Derderian, is working under a new $60,000 contract to prepare the final plan for submission to the Coastal Resources Management Council and the RI Department of Transportation, which need to approve it. On Tuesday night, though, Derderian showed the committee different types of structures and walkway materials that could be used in the park.

He also used a PowerPoint presentation to show off site furnishings, such as benches and tables; bollards – solar, standard and LED -- to keep cars away from open spaces; bike racks; pavements, including colored, scored and imprinted; shade features, such as kite-like fabric structures that resembled public art; and shrubs, perennials and trees for the landscaping.

For the furnishings, Derderian said: “I suggest elegance and durability” – as in metal and wood benches and tables.

Committee member Bob Smith said: “We need the wow factor” for people who drive by.

Dessel, who might park his food truck in Police Cove as a test of how much business it attracts from the adjacent East Bay Bike Path, made suggestions for criteria the town could use to attract vendors.

“I have no idea what it’s worth,” Dessel said of operating a food truck in the park. “I think it will be hard to get daily vendors."

He did say after the meeting that he expects tht a Del's Lemonade or a Palagi's ice cream truck could do well at the park each summer.

Dessel said the committee should start with an “RFP to qualify acceptable vendors.”

He also said a permanent structure might work better for a vendor because it will be necessary to have food at the park when people arrive to use it, especially if they are riding on the bike path and plan to stop by. At the least, there should be a regular schedule of vendors at the park, he said.

The committee discussed again the possibility of holding a contest to rebrand the park and give it a name. They also discussed looking at seeking proposals for public art -- perhaps "art that is part of the pavement," said Holly Smith, or games children could play.

Construction of the park will cost around $750,000. Another $200,000 in DOT funding will reconstruct the boat ramp used by fire rescue boats in the summer.

The final concept for the park includes:

  • a waterfront promenade with ornamental railings and benches,
  • an open-use pathway that links to the adjacent East Bay Bike Path along the water,
  • an open lawn for flexible use,
  • a transient boat dock near the existing boat ramp,
  • a parking area for food trucks,
  • an outdoor dining area near the food trucks,
  • parking for cars and boat trailers,
  • several bike racks,
  • a portable toilet.

Programs envisioned for the park include concerts, films, flea and farmers’ markets, weddings and reunions, educational talks and walks and art expos.

The committee will now take most of the summer off before meeting again on Aug, 20. Yes, the fun has begun.

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