Pawtucket forms group to review options on transfer station

Pawtucket forms group to review options on transfer station

PAWTUCKET – Officials have formed a stakeholder group that includes many opponents of a proposal to build a new waste transfer station on Concord Street. The group will evaluate options for the existing transfer station on Grotto Avenue.

Mayor Donald Grebien this week announced the formation of the community stakeholder group to work with the Hassenfeld Institute for Public Leadership at Bryant University and explore options for the transfer station.

Link Environmental is looking to build an expanded and enclosed transfer station at 55 Concord St. to replace the existing open station at 240 Grotto Ave.

The proposal has sparked numerous protests in Fairlawn, with signs popping up across the neighborhood on the west side of the city making statements such as “Link will stink” and “Get out of the trash business.”

Residents and business owners say they’re concerned about a decline in property values if the new station is built, as well as quality of life hindrances such as odors, rats and spreading garbage.

The proposal has also drawn criticism from neighboring communities, including North Providence and Providence.

The newly formed stakeholder group will learn more about the challenges at the current site, the proposal for the relocation, industry standards and requirements, financial impacts, and services to residents, and will then explore options moving forward, states a release from the mayor. The Hassenfeld Institute will facilitate this process and compile the data into a report for the city and the City Council.

Grebien previously announced a pause in the approvals process for the transfer station, as experts review the proposal and come up with recommendations.

Members of the stakeholder group represent Fairlawn residents, the City Council, the business community, and include representatives of Link Environmental and the city. The preliminary list released this week includes:

• City Councilor Meghan Kallman

• City Councilor Timothy Rudd

• Former City Councilor Mary Bray

• Foolproof Brewing Company owner Nick Garrison

• Carole Kelly, a neighbor of the existing Grotto Avenue facility

• Ricardo Pitts-Wiley, of Mixed Magic Theatre, located near the existing transfer station

• Arthur Plitt, head of the Neighborhood Alliance of Pawtucket, and member of city boards

• Joseph Reposa, executive director of the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corp.

• Patricia St. Germain, Fairlawn community organizer and head of the Fairlawn Against Crime Team

• Mary Ann Shallcross, of Doctor Day Care, which is located near the proposed facility

• Jim Semenko, owner of The Car Store, also located near the proposed facility

• Joseph Vinagro, CEO of Link Environmental

• And Dylan Zelazo, chief of staff to Grebien.

The current Grotto Avenue transfer station directly abuts a dense residential area and has multiple issues ranging from truck traffic directly through the neighborhoods, environmental concerns, and operational issues from “the lack of investment for decades,” stated the release from the mayor’s office.

“The current issues at the Grotto Avenue site are challenging and costly,” it states. “This has resulted in the need for the current transfer station to be replaced.”

The city began assessing options more than three years ago, looking at alternatives to continue to provide existing trash collection services within a fully enclosed and regulated facility. Those discussions have also related to how to keep the service affordable to residents. One of the compelling reasons for the relocation, according to Grebien, is to reduce the traffic from current patterns and off residential roads and have truck traffic coming directly off I-95 to the site, a much shorter distance away compared with the current site.

The city has engaged Hassenfeld Institute for Public Leadership at Bryant University “to ensure a transparent and informative process.” Officials say they will engage the community to understand “all options and the impact both from a quality of life and financial perspective.”

Visit www.pawtucketri.com/municipal-transfer-station for more on the proposal.