More than 120 people have completed the online survey that will assist in drafting the city’s first comprehensive plan since 1991.
That’s just a start, in the opinion of City Planner William DePasquale. Over the next month, he hopes more than 1,000 people of all ages will take the 10 to 12 minutes it takes to answer 35 questions about what they like and don’t like about the city and what they would like the future of Warwick to be. The survey is not limited to an online audience. Hard copies will be available at the Pilgrim Senior Center and the Warwick Public Library. The survey is also being circulated among high school students as the graduation project of Vets senior Shannon Flynn.
Now DePasquale thinks the survey will have even more interest because it includes questions about a venue that is dear to so many – the former Rocky Point Amusement Park. The survey includes questions about what should be the future use of the land when the state acquires the remaining 82 acres. The land remains under the receivership of the Small Business Administration, which is looking to sell it to recover its losses and those of other creditors when park owners filed for bankruptcy more than 15 years ago. Last year voters approved $10 million to purchase the park and combine it with the 41 acres the city was able to save as part of an agreement that removed one of the largest creditors, other than the SBA.
Questions about the park range from whether it should be left as open space with trails or open to commercial activity, such as a hotel.
“We want the most inclusive survey of its kind,” DePasquale said of efforts to get as many people as possible to answer questions about the city’s future. The questionnaire was developed following a series of ward meetings where the department’s consultants, Goody Clancy Associates of Boston, met with residents to identify what they liked about the city and what they felt needed improvement. At the top of the list of positives were the proximity of the Bay, strong neighborhoods and easy access to shopping. Traffic, lack of enforcement of minimum housing codes and airport noise were among the drawbacks.
DePasquale explained that survey questions about enforcement of minimum housing codes is aimed at assessing how residents feel about their neighborhoods and the importance of a neighborhood’s character. The survey also includes questions about Green Airport and the role it should play in the city’s future
“The comprehensive plan really reflects where we want to go,” said DePlasquale.
Called 21st Century Warwick: City of Livable Neighborhoods, the plan will contain an overall vision that embodies Warwick’s unique personality, culture and heritage, and establish a set of goals, policies and actions to achieve that vision. The plan will be organized into a series of “elements,” or topic areas, including natural resources, historic and cultural resources, open space and recreation, housing and neighborhoods, economic development, transportation and circulation, services and facilities, and land use. A new element, resilience, will focus on how to best adapt to increased hazards from flooding and the potential impact of climate change. Finally, the plan will include an implementation section to identify actions and resources needed to implement the plan’s recommendations.
An Advisory Committee has been established to serve as a sounding board for the planning team, and will meet roughly every other month throughout the planning process. A project website, www.warwickcompplan.com, offers information about the process and the ability to register to follow the process on Facebook and Twitter. The survey is available online at http://www.warwickcompplan.com/?page_id=21. It is also accessible through the city’s website and the Warwick Beacon website, warwickonline.com.
The plan is being completed with a grant from Statewide Planning.