Thoughts After Six Months

The new Town Council was sworn in via Zoom on December 7th and due to the pandemic restrictions, we have yet to meet altogether for a live session. We are cognizant of the constraints put on town businesses and churches and voted to continue to abide by the same restrictions for the Town Council. Yet events were approved for this summer so that North Kingstown will be open for recreation programs, beaches, concerts, fireworks, and the Wickford Arts Festival. The R.I. Recreation and Parks Association recognized the NK Recreation Department as their “Department of the Year”; they also named NK Recreation Director Chelsey Dumas-Gibbs their Walter Henry Award Winner for 2021, distinguishing her outstanding accomplishments leadership, and work during COVID. Go to Wilson Park to see the new playground equipment we approved.

As a Town Council, we are striving to work together with the North Kingstown School District. I am on the NKSD Building Committee which is also made up of town leaders in the trades, to discuss and prioritize school building projects. The district worked closely with the town offices to coordinate a COVID-19 vaccine clinic at the NK High School for teachers and town workers in March and April. The state chose NKSD to host a vaccine clinic for students 16 years of age and older. On June 9th, the school district will hold graduation at the high school football field.

The town is negotiating contracts with two of its three unions, the police and local 1033 which is all the town workers not in police and fire. I observed and participated on all but one of these negotiations. The two contracts expire June 30, 2021, and we hope to arrive at an agreement prior to that date.

During the past six months we have approved citizens to sit on the various town boards, commissions, and committees. Their input is critical when the Town Council holds hearings and considers new ordinances; the recommendations of these volunteer committee hold sway. There are still a few seats on our various town committees that need to be filled. The town website lists the vacancies and how to apply.

Two important events that the Town Council recently approved: Towards an Anti-Racist North Kingstown (T.A.N.K.) is hosting an art installation and remembrance of George Floyd’s death on Sunday, May 23rd from 3:00pm-5:00pm at McGinn Park Saturday. On Saturday, June 5th at 7:00pm, at the Old Meeting House on Boone Street, there will be an unveiling of a memorial to remember North Kingstown residents who died of COVID-19.

The proverb, it takes a village to raise a child may seem a bit overwrought, but it is true that as a Town Council member I am concerned about the views of people affected by our decisions. If you have a concern or an opinion, contact us to express your point of view. I may or may not agree, but I appreciate you taking the time to let me know your belief. I will listen to your stance so we can work together in making North Kingstown a more inclusive town.