Forcing Arts Center out will cost more than what's saved


To the Editor:

We are Warwick residents, taxpayers and advocates with strong ties to the community. From that perspective, we were aghast to read in the February 19 Warwick Beacon of Mayor Solomon’s idea to evict the Warwick Center for the Arts (formerly known as the Warwick Museum) from its home of more than 40 years in the Apponaug armory.

We appreciate the fresh and deep look that Mayor Solomon is taking, on our behalf, as to all matters of the city’s finances. But the thought of forcing WCFA from the armory is arbitrary, capricious and downright absurd on many levels. For one thing, moving WCFA out of the armory will force the city to pick up the tab for the hundreds of thousands of dollars in building maintenance that WCFA has paid for, through donations and grants it has received, over the course of its tenancy. On a net basis, it will cost the city more for WCFA to move out of the armory than to stay put.

For another thing, we have just spent tens of millions of dollars in road improvements for the purpose, among others, of reviving Apponaug Village. WCFA is the primary cultural attraction in the area, and evicting WCFA will throw millions of dollars in lost opportunity out the window. Moreover, the economic and social benefits provided by WCFA through its hall rentals, events, exhibits, and classes – including exhibits about places like Rocky Point and Oakland Beach – cannot be replicated in other locations.

We call upon the mayor to earn his reputation as a sensible politician who makes wise fiscal decisions and cares about the fabric of the Warwick community by proposing a new armory lease with WCFA rather than tossing one of Warwick’s most valuable assets to the curb.

George W. Shuster Jr. & Stephanie Van Patten, Greta and Georgia Shuster, Rob & Julie Mullen, Laura & Scott Williamson, Jim & Donna Fraser, Mark McHugh, Jennifer & Les Mann, Ginny & Lonnie Barham, Beverly Silva, Katie & Jim FitzGerald, Charlie & Bea Van Patten, Joe & Heather Rodrigues, Colleen Callaghan, Robin Beckwith, Barbara & Francis Canning, Dan & Chris Pierce, Sharon Eisman, Frank Ferri, Pattie Piscione, Spurwink RI Voclinks program, Bring Your Own Improv, Nancy Gaucher-Thomas, Jane Rollins, Rebecca Stockdill, Cynthia Brunelle, Jennifer Brunelle, Brianne Neptin, Precious Lopez, Kendra Winchester, Cynthia Didonato, Anna Wingfield, Elinor Thompson, Taylor Terreri, Diane Newman-Goins, Pamela Unwin Barkley, Susan Aitcheson, Aileen Quinn, Danielle Salisbury, Dora Kuan, Jennifer Lucente, Stephany Hessler, Barbara Kessler, Maria Carroccia, Judi Connery, Martha Waigner, Beth Silva, Robin Beckwith, Victoria Guerina, Diane Gregoire, David Brunell and Lara Moritz


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