October 25, 2014
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Armed with paint, volunteers brighten up Conimicut
COMING TOGETHER: More than 30 people gathered Saturday morning to help tidy up Conimicut Village, including Deb Robillard of the Conimicut Village Association and Jennifer Mejia, 16, of Cranston, a member of the Warwick Police Explorers.

In a joint effort, the Conimicut Village Association and the Community Services Division Warwick Police Department gathered at the Warwick Police Conimicut Substation at 759 West Shore Road Saturday morning to conduct a cleanup of Conimicut Village.

More than 30 people, including members of the Warwick Police Explorers program, as well as Ward 4 Councilman Joseph Solomon, spruced up buildings and local structures in need of a paint job. Others tidied up Donovan Park, as the recent storm left debris such as sticks and garbage scattered about.

Volunteers brought with them garbage bags, paintbrushes, rollers and pans.

“It’s a great community effort,” said Conimicut Village Association president Ginny Barham, who organized the event with Community Police Officer Nelson Carreiro. “It brings the village together.”

Carreiro agreed. He said aside from cleaning up the area, the best part of the event was seeing Conimicut residents, members of the Police Department and the Warwick Police Explorers all contributing to the improvement of the neighborhood.

“The relationship between the police and the residents of Conimicut Village is amicable,” he said. “I think that the role of the police is not just to protect and serve, it’s to also understand the problems the neighborhoods are faced with and the quality of life issues that we need to work collectively with the community to tackle. It builds a stronger relationship between us and with a stronger relationship, you can accomplish just about anything. We need their help just as much as they need us.”

Solomon, who helped paint the World War II era guns in front of the American Legion Post, feels the same. The team effort, he said, is an important factor in keeping the community clean.

“It’s great to see everyone participate,” said Solomon. “We’re maintaining pride within our community and showing that we care about our surroundings. It also gives the community a chance to help the police officers that serve us. We get to know them and they get to know us. I want to thank the Warwick Police for joining in this effort. Their public service is very much appreciated. A lot of people came out to help.”

Deb Robillard of the Conimicut Village Association was alongside Solomon helping to repaint the gunneries. She, too, was pleased to see the outpouring of support from all involved.

“I’m glad we have so many volunteers,” Robillard said.

With them were Celeste Canham of the Association, officer Steve Nelson and Jennifer Mejia, 16, of Cranston, who is a member of the Explorers.

Other Explorer members who pitched in included Cadet Captain Steven Capaldi, 19, a graduate of Cranston East High School, and Adrine Lill, 14, a 10th grader at Toll Gate. The two visited Donovan Park to clean up storm debris.

“It’s fun to do and it gives us a good name,” Capaldi said.

Barham, as well as Bev Cottam, who is also a member of the Association and Barham’s business partner at Nostal Chic, an antique store on West Shore Road, said seeing the police come together is uplifting. Paul Tremblay, owner of West Shore Carpet and Blinds, feels the same. As small business owners, they don’t mind spending a few hours improving the area.

More Association members, such as Barham’s husband, Lonnie, and Dick Deering and George Tarring, who are also affiliated with Woodbury Union Church, were on hand with paintbrushes and rollers. Perched on ladders, they painted the abandoned structure at 800 West Shore Road, which was covered in graffiti.

The cleanup was supported and sponsored by Salk’s Hardware at West Shore Road. Owner Jeff Salk donated more than 10 gallons of paint.

“It’s good because the residents put in their time and effort to spruce up the community,” he said during a brief phone interview yesterday morning. “It looks great. They did a really nice job. I’m glad we helped.”

If anyone witnesses any suspicious activity or damage, they are urged to contact the Warwick Police Department at 468-4200 or 911 in case of emergency.


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