Advisory committee seeks public's ideas on Dec. 7 for what to do with prison site

| 15 Feb 2012 | 10:28

    Warwick — The Mid-Orange Advisory Committee will host a visioning meeting for the public on Wednesday Dec. 7, at 7 p.m. in the cafeteria of the Middle School, which is located at 225 West St. The meeting will be similar to the public forums held about the rezoning of Route 94S and seek the input and ideas of residents and local business owners for redevelopment of the former correctional facility. The state owns the property. “We’re expecting between 80 and 150 people,” said advisory committee member Michael Dunleavy in an interview. He underscored the urgency with which the advisory committee is working in order to ensure the town’s ability to determine the future of the large property. By having the visioning meeting only weeks after the first advisory committee meeting, the town is demonstrating that it is aggressively proactive about the future of the site, he said. “We have to show the state that we’re aggressively doing something to solve this problem for Warwick,” said Dunleavy, who is a member of the community outreach subcommittee along with Geoff Howard. Howard will run the visioning meeting, explain the charge given to the advisory committee and breakdown attendance into smaller groups for brainstorming sessions that will last between 30 and 40 minutes. “The state is allowing Warwick to steer the development of the site but that could go away,” said Dunleavy, who described the advisory committee as generally optimistic. “It’s a good problem; that’s the way we’re looking it.” “If we can help shape what it will become, it will have lasting effects on Warwick for future generations,” he added. Five subcommittees - facilities, community outreach, records, business outreach, and reports - comprise the advisory committee that attorney John Hicks chairs. The task is large and includes mapping the property, which contains as many as six separate and distinct areas for different lines of business. Although the state has yet to give the advisory committee members a tour of the grounds, the facilities subcommittee is trying to map the property and provide visuals in time for the visioning meeting. In addition to press releases, the committee is also working with the library, chamber of commerce and CommonPlace Warwick to disseminate its information. - Birgit Bogler