“They will destroy people’s lives. People who are elderly will live the last ten years of their lives not being able to enjoy their homes. Noise, dust, muck, destruction. It’s disgusting.“
“We’re trying to draw attention to our cause and perhaps the Mayor will look out his window and see how determined we are,” said Candy Seel, one of the organizers with Keep Metacomet Green, a group of East Providence residents opposed to Marshall Development’s plan to turn the Metcomet Golf Course into a mixed use development.
She and many others were holding signs out in from of the East Providence City Hall. Later during the protest, Mayor Roberto DaSilva came out to speak to the protesters. According to one resident, “He went down the line and spoke to almost everyone. He told me we might not believe him, but he appreciated our efforts because they were helping to make it a better proposal.”
“What’s your feeling on where the Mayor sits on this issue?” asked UpriseRI.
My feeling is that he’s 100% for the Marshall Development plan,” said Seel. “I don’t know why. We have so many empty retail spaces in East Providence. We have so many derelict, vacant, perhaps abandoned buildings. Why he’s so determined to develop that pristine 138 acres of property, I have no idea.”
UpriseRI asked about Seel’s impressions of last week’s City Council meeting, where Marshall presented their plan and people were given an opportunity to speak about the project. The City Council must approve a zoning change and a change in the City’s comprehensive plan to allow the development to move forward. This is the only point in the process where political pressure can be applied.
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“I was surprised Marshall got so much time to make their presentation,” said Seel. “That they were allowed to get in 30 minutes early while we waited outside in the 90 degree weather.
“The comments were overwhelmingly in opposition to the plan. They tried to do one speaker in support, one speaker in opposition, but they ran out of supporters long before we ran out of opponents.”
East Providence resident Roselette DeWitt isn’t buying into Marshall’s promises.
“We have a right to peace and quiet,” said DeWitt. “We have a right to enjoy our homes and Marshall wants to violate that. It bothers me on a moral level- How low someone can sink to think that’s okay.
“And all this bullshit about how, ‘We’re opening this land up to you so you can walk through it.’ Have they not heard? No one cares. We like it as it is.
“Then to be so condescending as to say we’ll give you a sidewalk,” added DeWitt, “They’re not giving us anything, and we don’t want it.
“They will destroy people’s lives. People who are elderly will live the last ten years of their lives not being able to enjoy their homes. Noise, dust, muck, destruction. It’s disgusting.”
UpriseRI asked Seel if she thinks her group has the votes on the City Council to kill the project.
“We’re not counting on anyone,” said Seel. “We can only hope. We just have to hope that they listen to their constituents.
None of the city council are up for election this year. The city council just recently switched to two-year to four-year terms, and we are two years away from their next election.
“No one’s up for re-election,” said Seel, “but the people are going to remember…”