By JOHN HOWELL Frank Picozzi described the day he learned the city could remove the metal blue box planters lining Post Road in Apponaug "as one of the happiest days I've had as mayor." The 42 planters, each costing $5,000, will be removed by city crews
Frank Picozzi described the day he learned the city could remove the metal blue box planters lining Post Road in Apponaug “as one of the happiest days I’ve had as mayor.”
The 42 planters, each costing $5,000, will be removed by city crews Saturday and taken to Veterans Middle School, where they will be stored as the School Department relocates them. Picozzi said the schools plan to use them as protection in the front of buildings.
It’s a good purpose, in Picozzi’s opinion.
“You couldn’t drive a tank through them,” he said.
Removal of the “blue boxes” has been on Picozzi’s wish list every since the state completed the $71 million Apponaug circulator project. He finds them an eyesore, an impediment to pedestrians and a burden to the city that inherited their upkeep. When Picozzi was elected mayor, he had the platform to do something about getting rid of the blues.
One of his first calls was to the state Department of Transportation and its director, Peter Alviti. He imagined getting the green light to free the village of the boxes could be as simple as making the request. In fact, he thought he could just direct a city crew to cart them away. It’s a good thing he didn’t try that because the DOT said federal funds had been used to buy the boxes and approvals would be needed to remove them.
That didn’t stop Picozzi.
“I was relentless,” the mayor said, explaining that every time he crossed paths with Alviti he asked about removing the boxes. Picozzi even called into Gene Valicenti’s Thursday WPRO Radio morning show, where Alviti fields questions from listeners. Alviti knew what to expect and was prepared to remind the mayor he would need federal clearance to do away with the boxes.
Once gone, Picozzi said he is looking to make sidewalk cutouts to plant trees. He likes the ornamental pear trees that line West Shore Road in Conimicut.
That section of Post Road running through the village will be closed Saturday for the removal of the boxes.