Revival of Buttonwoods Center gains momentum

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Those dejected over the closing of the Buttonwoods Community Center may have reason to rejoice sooner than they may believe, as top city officials are putting a high priority on reopening at least a portion of the building for use again within the coming months.

“It’s a beautiful structure,” said Mayor Joseph Solomon during an appearance at the Warwick Rotary Club on Thursday. “It doesn’t look like it’s a large building, but if you go in there and visit…there is almost 7,000 square feet of usable space in there.”

Solomon, along with Ward 7 Councilman Stephen McAllister and Ward 5 Councilman Ed Ladouceur, are on a mission to reopen the community center, which used to be a favorite place for local senior citizens to get together and socialize, according to the advocates who want to reopen the doors.

The center was closed last year by former Mayor Scott Avedisian, who argued then that the building would require about $463,000 of repairs (primarily the degraded roof) in addition to its roughly $75,000 annual cost to operate compared to just $26,400 in rent money it generated.

The building formerly housed the city’s Department of Human Services, programs operated by Westbay Community Action and the Comprehensive Community Action (CCAP), in addition to being home to a large community room that attracted a popular group of regulars, such as a group of nearly 70 people that ran a High Lo Jack league.

While the City Council voted unanimously to adopt a resolution to save the building from being shuttered, it ultimately closed anyways, with many who opposed the closing claiming there were additional political motivations behind the action.

Now, Solomon and his former City Council colleagues are looking to put the required work into the building and reopen it for many of the same possible purposes. While the whole building may take more time, both Solomon and McAllister are hopeful they can at least address the issues required to re-open the center’s community room, so seniors can once again populate the space.

Another possible use, Solomon offered, was to relocate some of the municipal workers who were displaced to the former Greene Elementary School following a pipe bursting in the City Hall Annex Building to the center.

There’s some work to be done in order to get to this reality first, though.

“First goal is to get that roof fixed,” McAllister said following the Rotary meeting on Thursday. “People are reaching out to us about it, that’s the great thing. People love that building, it’s a community building in the center of the city. You can use it for meetings, bingo, cards, socializing; we want to get the community back in there.”

McAllister said the Buttonwoods Center was the number one issue he heard from constituents about and remains a hot topic of correspondence with people from Ward 7. He said that the center could potentially rent space to Westbay or CCAP again, or other nonprofits looking for a large space in the middle of the community.

“It’s already wired for Internet and already wired for phones. It’s a huge space,” McAllister said, adding that the building is already up to fire code standards. “There’s a lot of offices and former classroom spaces. We can put a lot of different options on the table for that.”

The outside of the building has recently been worked on by city DPW workers, cleaning up debris and reinvigorating the outdoor garden spaces. McAllister said that DPW workers would be instrumental in performing work on the inside as well, and that he and Ladouceur were looking into businesses that might be willing to donate materials and work to help with the costly fix for the roof.

“We’re talking with different companies willing to volunteer. We would need the city workers to do a lot of the work as well,” he said. “For the mayor, this has been a top priority for him and he’s leading the charge.”

While any work on the center would require funding approval from the City Council, McAllister didn’t anticipate finding support among the council – nor the public, for that matter – would be very challenging.

“I’m fairly confident we’ll have support from the whole council,” he said. “I’ve even had seniors mention, ‘I’ve got a hammer,’ so we got lots of options.”

Comments

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richardcorrente

Councilperson Steve McAllister deserved most of the credit for digging in on this project to save Buttonwoods. Back in the day when Mayor Avedisian wanted it closed, Steve spearheaded the movement to block the sale and "Save The Buttonwoods Center" for our seniors. Congrats should also go to acting Mayor Solomon and Finance Chair/City Councilperson Ed Ladouceur for their input, but this was Steve's mission from the start. I believe Warwick could get the roof fixed just by asking for volunteers. Whether the building gets sold or renovated, a new roof will make the building a great asset.

Happy Summer everyone.

Rick Corrente

The Taxpayers Mayor

Tuesday, July 17
Scal1024

When I brought up a beach clean up volunteer program as a way to prevent the city from charging beach fees on residents, Rick Corrente jumped all over my comment. He said the volunteers weren't there for the program to ever work. Now, here we are months later. Rick Corrente gives his ideas on fixing the community center and what does he suggest? VOLUNTEERS to fix the roof. Corrente doesn't believe we could create a better volunteer, beach clean up program, but he believes without a doubt we will have the volunteers for roofing a community center? Why is it my idea was wrong, abd Rick claims he will be right? Not to mention instead of volunteers, his idea to clean the beaches involved RAISING FEES ON EVERY DRIVING RESIDENT. This is an example of how he thinks as a candidate. Rather than come up with a better plan that didn't hurt taxpayers (volunteer beach cleanup program) Rick Corrente chose to RAISE FEES (tax) on EVERY DRIVING RESIDENT. Funny that someone who runs on "cut taxes cut spending" can't name ANY SPENDING HE'D CUT and when faced with his first budgetary campaign problem takes the side of RAISING TAXES (fees).

You can actually hear Rick Corrente screaming in agony as he has to twist himself into congratulating Acting Mayor Solomon. I am not surprised. Rick Corrente heaped praise on Joe Solomon for Correntes entire political career, never said a bad word about him. Then in 2018 Joe Solomon announced he'd be a candidate for Mayor. This is when Rick Corrente labeled him a "political insider". Rick Corrente should stick to what he knows best: Racking up THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS IN BACK TAXES (over $13,000 ) and having OTHERS PAY IT FOR HIM!!! The only person acting like a politician in this race (changing their opinion based on who is in the race) is RICK CORRENTE. It just reveals more and more the unraveling of Rick Corrente and his failing campaign.

Tuesday, July 17
richardcorrente

Dear Scal1024,

Getting volunteers for ongoing trash pick-up is a WHOLE LOT DIFFERENT than a one time good-feeling renovation project that a volunteer can drive past year after year, with the pride of saying "I did that!". The seniors that frequented the Buttonwoods Center have told me they have family members that would come out for a noble cause like this one. Getting trash picked up...that's another story. One that has failed for decades. You're wrong on that one Scal...again.

One more correction:

You can't hear me "screaming in agony" when I congratulated acting Mayor Solomon for his efforts. On the contrary, I enjoy giving people credit where credit is due, just like I gave him credit when he appointed Bill DePasquale as his Chief-of-Staff. I even applauded Joe when he bought raffle tickets at the "Doughboy Dash" at Iggy's. You ought to try it sometime Scal, and while you're at it consider coming out of the shadows and identify yourself. Maybe then, your comments will gain credibility. Until then all you are is a henchman.

Fake News. Fake sources. Fake people. Fake names.

Happy Summer everyone.

Rick Corrente

The Taxpayers Mayor

Wednesday, July 18
CrickeeRaven

Wow, Scal, look at how pathetic the make-believe mayor is in trying to justify his prior comments: Getting volunteers to keep beaches clean is different [and impossible] to him because it has to be done more than once, as opposed to a one-time roof project [which, if he took the time to actually read the article, is not something the council is looking to get volunteers to do, meaning it's actually not going to happen].

As Councilman Stephen McAllister says in the article above, he's looking for local companies to donate materials with city workers doing the actual repair work -- not volunteers. The make-believe mayor is also ignoring the many policies and standards in place that prohibit the city from getting volunteers to do things like repair a roof; he clearly has no understanding of the huge liability that the city would assume by bringing in non-city workers for the project.

And when the make-believe mayor says that volunteer beach cleanup "has failed for decades," he is declaring the effort to recruit volunteers a failure before it has even been tried by Mayor Solomon.

"I enjoy giving people credit where credit is due."

No, the make-believe mayor gives hollow compliments and often has to be shamed into it -- he only complimented Joe Solomon for buying raffle tickets after he was shamed into it, as I'm sure you recall from this article: http://warwickonline.com/stories/they-dashed-for-the-dough,133734?#comments

As we've seen so often, the only failure is the make-believe mayor's ongoing attempt to fool voters, smear actual leaders in the city, and lie to readers of this website. Honest, taxpaying voters very clearly see how much of a failure his campaign is, and eagerly await Sept. 12 when they can formally prove it by overwhelmingly rejecting his candidacy.

Wednesday, July 18
Scal1024

Rick, you shouldn't be jealous that my comments have 100x the credibility yours do. This is, of course because they are backed up with facts. Unlike you, who for over 3 years flapped your gums about "cutting taxes and cutting spending" when you haven't shown a single shred of proof that you know how to do either. In fact, I would say the one thing Rick Corrente has been consistent on in this campaign, is his failure to pay taxes. Why is it he can't answer for his car taxes that were late 3 years in a row, the city had to guilt Corrente into finally paying by not allowing him to register his car. Rick Corrente believes he is always the smartest guy in the room, the problem is anytime he opens his mouth he contradicts that. I welcome the many readers who have spoken out against this lunatic, to vote against him this primary season.

Wednesday, July 18
Scal1024

Rick, why are you avoiding the comments section of the Warwick Beacon article headlined: "Slimming Down".

In the comments I posted Rick Correntes car tax delinquencies from 2009-2012. It wasn't until 2012 where he wasn't able to register his car that Corrente decided to pay his car taxes. After he was shamed into paying in 2012 Rick Correntes car disappeared off the tax rolls. How is this possible? If the car wasn't on the cities tax rolls for 3 years (2013-2015) that means he was skating on paying his fair share. Its funny that Rick Corrente , when confronted with facts, chooses to run and hide. That is the move of a REAL COWARD. Anytime you want to defend the fact you were 0 for 8 on paying your 2009-2010 car taxes on time, I'll be happy to share the information...AGAIN! The behavior of "The Tax Delinquents Mayor" has been embarassing. I don't expect this gutless COWARD to change anytime soon. Warwick voters will be happy to send Rick Corrente a message this September, and I very much look forward to that day.

Wednesday, July 18
WwkVoter

Not only does Corrente type things that are simply untrue, and he didnt pay his taxes a LOT, but also he has consistently come up with ways to SPEND A LOT MORE tax dollars. Such as buyouts for union retirees (which would NEVER happen, there isnt enough cash in all of RI to cancel the money collected in pension payments) and his crazy idea to pay people cash who decide to move to Warwick. (Homes sell rather quickly in Warwick as it is.)

WHY does Corrente continue to hijack EVERY topic and not get a real campaign? I do NOT see actual Mayor Joe Solomon spamming these comments, for example.

Wednesday, July 18
WwkVoter

If that building has roof problems, it needs to be professionally checked for toxic mold, for sure!

Wednesday, July 18
CrickeeRaven

WwkVoter, your question about the make-believe mayor's behavior on this website drives right to the heart of the many defects in his candidacy.

He thinks that spamming this website is an effective way to get his message to voters. And once he started using it for free political advertising and found he could continue to get away with it, he simply kept doing it.

Of course, he has really only succeeded in humiliating himself by having his comments proven to be distortions [at best] and lies [at worst]. He's engaged in name-calling and attacking commenters who use screen names -- which is something he can't enforce because he doesn't own this website.

But what I think explains his pathetic behavior on this website the most is that he's lazy, arrogant, and entitled.

Lazy, because he has so far put only $100 into his 2018 campaign and replaced actual effort with typing comments on this website; arrogant, because he thinks repeated comments on the Beacon's website make him a legitimate candidate; and entitled, because he thinks he should be allowed to use someone else's website for his campaign without being challenged on his statements.

So, in the end, there really is no good answer for why the make-believe mayor continues to try to mislead and lie to Beacon readers, except he's just decided that he can.

Joe Solomon already has $100,000 in his campaign account to spend, the Democratic party gearing up to support him, 20 years' worth of name recognition, and actual, verifiable accomplishments as an elected official that people already know about. It's logical to conclude that, unlike the make-believe mayor, Joe Solomon doesn't need to use someone else's website to run a successful campaign.

Wednesday, July 18
WwkVoter

Don't forget that Joe Solomon not only is accomplished in office, but also in his education and business as well. He has never gone bankrupt, fought to only pay $10 in child support, lost a house, or failed to pay his own Warwick tax bills like this corrente subject.

As a bonus Joe Solomon is also quite sane. (and a nice too).

Other than all that, it would be a toss up. ;)

Wednesday, July 18
Cat2222

CrickeeRaven, thank you for adding that link. I remember how RC was patting himself on the back while tearing down Solomon without any facts to support his statement. I have used the adjective before but RC is simply cringe-worthy. Every single time I see his posts I think of a door-to-door salesman in the 50's trying to sell you encyclopedias or the big toothy smile of a used car salesman that thinks they are slick but are really just ick.

Friday, July 20
CrickeeRaven

Totally with you, Cat. The make-believe mayor's campaign reminds me of the "30 feet away car" -- looks good from 30 feet away, but the closer you get, the worse it looks.

With the make-believe mayor, he has repeatedly and willingly shown his defects as a candidate through his comments on this site. As you note, he is much like a used-car salesman who actually knows his inventory is old, broken, and poorly maintained, yet still has to try and make the sale -- and how? By lying to people out of a sense that he is somehow smarter than anyone else -- that "slickness" you mention.

I'm glad that we're not the only honest, taxpaying voters who understand this about the make-believe mayor, and who will overwhelmingly reject his candidacy again on Sept. 12.

Friday, July 20