WEST WARWICK – Club owner Jim Vickers answered to the council and West Warwick Park and Recreation Director Ray Beattie questions regarding his desire to host a concert at a park in Crompton adjacent to his club, Manchester 65.
No residents from the area of the Crompton Mill attended the public hearing.
“I want to be on record we have very few playground facilities in town,” Beattie argued. “It’s constantly in use and I have a serious issue as a recreation director; I’m totally against the concept of using the park.”
He pointed out that the park, because of its equipment and basketball court, is frequently busy.
Ed Giroux pointed out to Vickers and the council that just because residents aren’t here, doesn’t mean that no one has an issue. There are homes within 200 feet from this business.
Vickers would be using the playground and surrounding area, and have Manchester Street blocked off.
“The idea is to build the stage by the sidewalk area and the owner of the mill has consented to the event,” Vickers explained. “We will have concessions on our property…there is another playground just down the road on New London.”
Council President David Gosselin Jr. believes one of the concerns of the residents is bottles being broken and too much noise.
“We promised we’d keep the area safe for them and here it is a month later and we’re having something expand into the park,” he said.
Town Manager Fred Presley agreed it is a well-used park but asked the council to keep in mind that this is a one –time event.
“It’s a common occurrence in public spaces,” Presley said. “Many other areas in state do same thing.”
Alcohol was the main issue because of all the issues that tend to come with people drinking.
Councilman Angelo Padula’s concern was someone getting hurt and if someone else wants to have a free concert then it’s opening a Pandora’s box.
West Warwick Town Solicitor Tim Williamson said there needs to be a plan going forward and suggested some research be done to see how other areas have handled the same thing.
The council agreed to that, as long as the health and well-being of everyone is being considered since they believe that is what matters the most.
“Word spreads that you have a good show and more people than you anticipate may show,” Williamson said.
“I think people are fine now that we’ve done a few shows and people are more relaxed,” Vickers said.
Ward 4 Councilman David Kenahan likes the idea of what Vickers is trying to do.
“It’s not a rock band, it’s a certain other style but there’s a laundry list of things that we need to get done in a certain amount of time to ensure a successful event,” Kenahan, who represents the citizens who live in the area, said.
West Warwick Police Chief Richard Silva agreed that all the main areas of concern have been addressed with traffic, parking, and alcohol use; but his concern is loud music.
“I think we’ll have a lot of angry residents will probably come forward,” Silva said. “I would suggest that we closely monitor it if this is approved.”
The final word should be ready in a few days after the council conducts its research.