City Park tour could be genesis of sharing ideas with Plymouth

Posted 10/26/23

A delegation from Plymouth, Mass. paid a visit to City Park Thursday to get some pointers from Warwick and now suggests an annual or biannual meetings to exchange ideas.

Plymouth Town Manager …

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City Park tour could be genesis of sharing ideas with Plymouth


A delegation from Plymouth, Mass. paid a visit to City Park Thursday to get some pointers from Warwick and now suggests an annual or biannual meetings to exchange ideas.

Plymouth Town Manager Derek Brindisi explained the group was seeking ideas for a master plan for Forges Field, a 300 acre parcel of town owned land that has 13 playing fields plus six pickleball courts, trails and an estimated 1,000 visitors a day. Triggering a study of Forges Field has been the request of Cross Winds Golf Course, which is across from the park, to extend its lease an additional five years. The 18-hole course is owned by Plymouth. Brindisi aims to explore the opportunities the park offers its citizens as well as for economic development as a site for regional athletic tournaments.

Plymouth, with nearly three times the land mass of Warwick, is the state’s largest town. It has a population of about 65,000 that swells to 85,000 in the summer. Warwick has it beat in terms of population and shoreline. Plymouth has 36 miles of shoreline, Warwick has 39.

Accompanying Brindisi were assistant town manager Brad Brothers, recreation director Anne Sluffer and park and forestry officer Nick Faiella who also serves as the town’s tree warden.

The Plymouth contingent learned of City Park from Sluffer who had competed at City Park in a tournament and was impressed by what she saw.

Brindisi said Wednesday the layout of City Park was especially helpful. As an example he cited the proximity of the street hockey rink to the dog park and how Warwick is now repositioning the dog park, since noise from the street hockey bothers the dogs. Plymouth is looking to build a dog park at Forges Field. Brindisi also learned that dog urine corroded the chain link fencing at the Warwick Park and that it will be replaced with rubber coated fencing.

So, what does City Park have that Forges Field doesn’t other than a beach and a trail that takes people a scenic run or walk following the banks of Brush Neck Cove? There is no body of water at Forges. But there are similarities. Both Forges and Park are relatively level, both have plenty of trees, both are located in suburban areas and both have an abundance of wildlife, especially turkeys and deer.

Warwick’s Parks and Recreation Director Beverly Wiley awed her audience with all that is happening at Warwick parks and recreational facilities from national and regional softball tournaments to Easter egg hunts, movie nights, swim meets, firework displays, and hockey games and figure skating a the two skating rinks. As for City Park, Wiley didn’t leave out the street hockey rink or the dog park. She also mentioned the Warwick Rotary Turkey Trot and how the park’s trail is a popular venue for nonprofits to hold fundraising walks and other events.

The visiting group was equally interested in learning how it all ran and the involvement of other city departments. Wiley struck a cord when she mentioned summer staffing problems which prompted questions over pay and recruiting methods. As Plymouth also has a public beach, conversation eventually drifted to the shortage of lifeguards.

“The biggest thing (for parents) is to watch your kids,” Wiley said.

Wiley, who handles the scheduling of playing fields and park events, said that in the case of City Park porta-johns are used to supplement beach restroom facilities during the peak of the season. She also talked about the award of contracts to concessionaires and how the city is exploring adopting the state system that awards specific days rather than a seasonal contract. She said food truck vendors are lobbying for the change.

Riding along in a Transwick Bus with Rick Gallant at the wheel, Mayor Frank Picozzi gave an overview of the city mentioning that it is home to the state’s airport, community college, Kent Hospital and its 39 miles of shoreline. He talked about the $8 million plan to build an outdoor ice skating rink at Warwick Plaza behind City Hall and fielded budget and grant funding questions.

By Tuesday Picozzi hadn’t heard back from any of the visitors. Overall, he said, the Plymouth team was interested in many of the fine points of managing a park system and given the time they spent in learning about the composting toilets at the park. Brindisi said yesterday Plymouth park depends on porta-johns and the compost toilets were clean and odorless.

“I thought it was a good connection,” Wiley said Tuesday. She observed there were a lot of questions about combatting graffiti.

“We don’t get that much of it,” Wiley said, adding that parks are locked at night. The Plymouth visitors picked up on that, she said.

Brindisi feels there is a lot to be learned from bringing the team of municipal officials together on a regular basis. He suggested once or twice a year. Presently Plymouth has an exchange of municipal officials with a city in Japan where every other year a Plymouth delegation visits. In the off years a Japanese delegation visits Plymouth.

Indeed, Plymouth is a lot closer than Japan for an exchange. It could well start with Wiley. She looks forward to talking with her counterpart, Sluffer, and swapping ideas.

Could it be that Wiley will be asking questions about pickleball courts?

City Park, tour, Plymouth


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