Part of R.I. Jewelry Resurgence, Loren Hope Makes EG Its Home

Gov. Gina Raimondo talks with Loren Barham at the Loren Hope open house.
Gov. Gina Raimondo talks with Loren Barham at the Loren Hope open house.

Loren Barham was living in England when she starting making jewelry. She ordered parts out of catalogs from companies located here in Rhode Island. Later, back in her home state of North Carolina, she and her husband, Aaron, decided to get serious about jewelry, establishing Loren Hope. But they were still ordering from Rhode Island. The more they thought about it, the more it made sense to go where the parts were.

They moved to Rhode Island in February 2013 and set up shop in a mill building in Pawtucket. It was just the two of them at that point, but now, less than two years later, Loren Hope employees 10 people. Needing more room, they found a new “old” mill building, this time at the Greenwich Mills at the bottom of Division Street in East Greenwich.

Some of the Loren Hope offerings.
Some of the Loren Hope offerings.

“We really wanted to stay in an old mill,” said Barham at an open house Thursday. “We feel it’s a symbol of American manufacturing. Someone told me the Bostitch staple was made in this mill. I really love having natural light and occupying a space where people made things.”

She’s not kidding. Loren and Aaron are serious about helping restore manufacturing in Rhode Island.

“All of the costume jewelry, almost in the world, was made here in Rhode Island,” said Aaron, who serves as Loren Hope’s CEO. “Our goal, moving up here, was to help bring a manufacturing resurgence back to this state – create American jobs and get people back to work. That’s what we really wanted to do and it’s starting to work.”

And that the company is called Loren Hope – ‘hope’ being the motto of Rhode Island, but also, coincidentally, Loren’s middle name (the name predates their move) – seems destiny.

Aaron and Loren Barham, CEO and designer of Loren Hope, respectively.
Aaron and Loren Barham, CEO and designer of Loren Hope, respectively.

The costume jewelry – necklaces, bracelets, earrings, cuffs, anklets – has a vintage feel but with modern colors and details that make them perfect for today’s shopper.

Gov. Gina Raimondo was on hand Thursday to lend her support.

“I tell the story all the time that, once upon a time, Rhode Island was the jewelry manufacturing capital of the world,” said Raimondo. “We had so many companies. Unfortunately, most of them left, but now with Alex and Ani and you guys and other companies, it’s changing. So that means when you need talent – casters or gem specialists – you’re going to find them in Rhode Island. That’s a wonderful thing – a whole eco-system of talent and material and suppliers, right here.”

Raimondo said she wanted Loren Hope to find Rhode Island a good place to do business.

“You have my personal commitment to help you be successful because every time you add a job, Rhode Island’s stronger,” she said. “I expect you to do great things and I think I’m going to have to become a customer.”

You can find Loren Hope products online here, or at Eloquence Jewelers in East Greenwich, JW Graham in Wickford and Flaunt Boutique in Providence and Smithfield …  so far.


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Join the Statewide Chat on Public Education – But Make Sure to Register!

NR-Image-2On Monday, March 30, the East Greenwich Chamber of Commerce is teaming with the state Department of Education for an activity-based education exchange which is part of the statewide planning process for Rhode Islanders at New England Tech.

The exchange in East Greenwich is one of several being held around the state. The goals are simple: bring communities together to talk about public education (K-12) and bring the voice of the community to the education process.

The session feedback will be collected and summarized to a 26 person state community team to develop the 2015-2020 plans for public education. The community team will work with the Rhode Island Board of Education on the plan development. The final product will be an actionable 7- to 10-page plan that describes a vision of Rhode Island public schools from 2015 to 2020.

The event is March 30 with check-in at 6:30 p.m. The exchange activity is from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the New England Institute of Technology. The event is free and open to the public. Capacity is limited, those wishing to attend must RSVP in advance to the East Greenwich Chamber office by calling 401-885-0020 or by registering online at www.eastgreenwichchamber.com.

 

BU Terrier Hockey Mascot ‘Brolin’ on the Mend

A Boston University sports fan dropped David-Max to pose for a picture with the school's field hockey team mascot.
A Boston University sports fan dropped David-Max to pose for a picture with the school’s field hockey team mascot.

“Brolin,” the Boston Terrier who doubled as the mascot for Main Street’s David-Max and the Boston University women’s field hockey team for the past year, is sidelined from both jobs after an attack by another dog resulted in his left eye being removed in surgery.

The little black-and-white terrier owned by Courtney Grady-Calcione, owner of David-Max, 187 Main St., is resting at home these days recuperating from his surgery.

“He is doing well, and he is in great spirits,” said Grady-Calcione. “He spends a lot of his day sleeping, resting. He’s fine. Now it is a matter of him having the ‘man flu’ and milking it a little.”

Brolin, 5½ years old, was an impulse purchase for Grady-Calcione one day when she was at the mall to buy a pair of shoes to wear on a cruise.

“I walked by the pet store and saw this little puppy sitting all by himself in a big cage, shivering, and that was it for me,” she said. “I am such a soft touch. I went to the mall to buy a pair of shoes and come home with an $1,800 puppy.”

Brolin quickly established himself in David-Max. He walks around the place like he owns it and he loves to cuddle with Grady-Calcione when business slows.

“He is such a well behaved dog; I’ve never had training for him,” she said.

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And that strong character and friendly demeanor caught the attention of one of Grady-Calcione’s friends who works in the Alumni Office at Boston University. Brolin appeared in videos for the school, posed for pictures with fans, made appearances on the field and performed during the pre-game warm-ups by chasing balls to amuse the fans.

The job was his until the attack two weeks ago when Grady-Calcione’s roommate walked the dog for his daily exercise. She called Grady-Calcione to tell her the dog had been severely injured.

“We brought Brolin to Ocean State Veterinary Specialists (in East Greenwich) and at first they thought they could save the eye, but after we got him home the iris ruptured and started to bleed,” she said. “We brought him back and he had surgery.”

The surgery cost $2,800, which is a big bite for a small business owner – the store sells home goods and good produced by local artisans – so Grady-Calcione created a fund-raising site to  defray the cost of hihttp---scontent.cdninstagram.com-hphotos-xpa1-t51.2885-15-e15-1516510_443632185799816_1632525588_ns surgery and veterinary care: www.gofundme.com/brolin.

Brolin’s future as a mascot for BU is uncertain, Grady-Calcione said. But he will continue his job at the store welcoming customers.

“I just don’t know if they could use him going forward as the hockey mascot,” Grady-Calcione said.

Grady-Calcione is designing a new logo for the business that is in the style of a traditional tattoo with Brolin wearing an eye patch.

He may be have lost an eye, but Brolin will still be styling.

Finding the amusing in a hard situation, Grady-Calcione said with a laugh that Brolin has a double tooth near his canine incisor on the left side of his mouth.

“So I tell people I have a one-eyed dog with a double tooth; God compensates,” she said with a laugh.

The web site for David Max with updates on not only the store, but also on Brolin is at http://www.david-max.com.

 

 

 

Council OKs 6-Month Pot Moratorium

council studying moratorium language
Council members study the marijuana moratorium during Monday’s meeting.

The Town Council voted 5-0 Monday night to approve a six-month moratorium on retail businesses that would allow the use of legal marijuana.

This was the council’s second look at a moratorium on marijuana-related activities. The council tabled the original moratorium at its meeting Feb. 23 after several councilors said the language was too broad. Town Solicitor Peter Clarkin presented a revised moratorium to the council Monday night, with some language deleted, but Councilor Mark Schwager again said he thought it went too far.

“I still find a lot of the aspects of this moratorium are too board. I still don’t understand what the urgent threat to health and the public is,” said Schwager, adding that hookah or vaping are not specifically tied to the consumption of marijuana.

Schwager also took issue with the inclusion of state-regulated “compassion centers” in the proposed moratorium. The state has allowed three compassion centers to open in the state (in Providence, Warwick and Portsmouth) – any additional centers would have to be approved by the General Assembly.

“I don’t know what protection is better than a state statute in place,” said Schwager. Besides, he said, the activities of compassion centers legal. “i’m not sure how you can exempt patients and their designated caregivers and not exempt compassion centers.”

“We had to have something before us to either vote on or modify,” said Council President Michael Isaacs. “The solicitor was asked to provide some framework…. As for the vaping and hookah lounges – I think we do need to look at that language, we don’t want to pick up more than intended. But we don’t want to be caught with something opening … “

“I share a lot of Dr. Schwager’s concerns,” said Councilman Bill Stone. “I think a blanket moratorium doesn’t work legally. The fact that we’re talking about hookah … as far as I know it has nothing to do with marijuana.”

Noting that hookahs have been around for hundreds of years in different parts of the world, Stone said the council could be accused of being culturally insensitive or ignorant about them.

It was Stone who offered the language confining the moratorium to retail businesses “where the consumption of marijuana is promoted or allowed,” noting that there seemed to be a concern that such an establishment could open on Main Street.

“I included the vamping centers because there’s one in Providence,” said Solicitor Clarkin. “That is exactly the type of activity we want to have rules on. Right now, I don’t think there’s anything on the books to keep one from opening right across the street.”

Councilman Sean Todd said he was concerned about the lack of regulations on Elevate, a medical marijuana vaping lounge in Providence, saying he would want to keep such an business off Main Street.

One of Elevate’s owners told the Providence Journal in an article Jan. 17, 2015, that he was required to get a retail license and a permit to operate on Sundays, but that was all.

On Tuesday, Todd elaborated on his comment: “I’ve got a young family and I don’t think it’s in the best interest of the community to be answering questions from kids about why people are getting high in a building.”

When asked how pot differed from alcohol, since many people drink expressly to feel a little “buzzed” when they drink, Todd responded, “One’s legal and one the federal government deems illegal.”

Marijuana has been legalized in some form in 23 states (including Rhode Island) and the District of Columbia, but it remains illegal on a federal level.

“I don’t believe in it. I don’t want my kids doing it,” Todd said of marijuana. “Keeping it up the street in Cranston or Warwick is fine. I just don’t think it’s right for our town.”

When asked why marijuana wasn’t right for EG, Todd said, “Because I live here.”

He said he was not troubled by the number of businesses in East Greenwich with full liquor licenses – EG has 36 establishments with full liquor licenses, up from 20 in 2000.

“I don’t think it’s a bad thing. It speaks to how many businesses want to come to our town,” Todd said.

Council President Michael Isaacs also elaborated on Tuesday, saying he wanted the town to study the issues “before we have places opening up that are established for the consumption of marijuana. Marijuana is not a legal project. Yes, it’s available for medical use. But we need to understand the ramifications: what we want to have for Main Street, what it would be like for other businesses, for people walking by,” he said. “With regard to alcohol consumption, there are regulations, bartenders have to be trained.”

Marijuana consumption, he said, “is a gray area that hasn’t been thought through.”

Isaacs said there was a difference between alcohol and marijuana and that the number of establishments that offer alcohol in East Greenwich was not too high.

“We don’t have a bunch of bars in East Greenwich,” he said. “There are bars but they are part of restaurants. When you’re talking about people and marijuana, it’s not dealing with a legal product.”

That, he said, is why the town needs to look at the issue: “We don’t have those kinds of things in place [like training for servers] relating to marijuana because it’s not currently a legal product.”

The Planning Board will take up the issue and offer its recommendations to the Town Council.


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Council Revisits 6-Month Moratorium on Pot-Related Businesses

town hall 3On the agenda for the Town Council meeting Monday night is a six-month moratorium on the sale of medical marijuana and vaping and hookah lounges. The council refused to vote on a similar but more expansive moratorium at its last regular meeting, Feb. 23.

“We felt some of the language was too broad and we wanted to get a better understanding of state law,” said Council President Michael Isaacs Sunday. (The changes are outlined at the bottom of this story.)

The goal of a moratorium, he said, was to give the town time to look at the legal and zoning issues involved before coming up with an ordinance.

“We want to put the regulatory structure in place prior rather than after establishments have opened,” said Isaacs. “The point here is to give us breathing room while this goes to the Planning Board. They can explore the issues and then make recommendations to the council.”

Isaacs said the moratorium was written by Town Solicitor Peter Clarkin with help from Town Planner Lisa Bourbonnais and the council would probably make changes at Monday’s meeting. He said he anticipated a two-pronged discussion – on legal issues (with Clarkin) and policy issues (among councilors).

For his part, Isaacs said, he wanted to discuss whether the language “vaping/hookah lounges” was too broad.

There is a vaping lounge in Providence where people with medical marijuana cards can bring their marijuana to “vape.”

Hookah bars, alternatively, are places where water pipes can be used to smoke tobacco. There are several hookah bars in Rhode Island.

East Greenwich has no hookah bars and none are proposed. However, the town is soon to have two cigar bars – Regency Cigars, at 752 Main St., has expanded to add a bar where liquor will be sold along with light snacks. The new Churchill Cigar Bar, at 564 Main St., under construction, will offer food and liquor in addition to cigars. (Cigar bars are allowed under the state smoking ordinance as long as more than 50 percent of their sales come from tobacco products.)

The moratorium would also prohibit “compassion centers” – places to buy medical marijuana –during that 6-month period. Currently, the state allows three compassion centers, in Providence, Portsmouth and Warwick. No additional centers are planned. It’s unclear if East Greenwich could actually prohibit one outright if the state sanctioned one here.

Isaacs said the moratorium was time-limited to give the Planning Board time “to explore this more fully” and that whatever the town came up with would have to follow state law.

“It’s not make an opinion on or final judgment on anything other than the need to study this,” said Isaacs of the moratorium. The council meets at Town Hall Monday at 7 p.m. You can find the agenda here.


 

The new moratorium resolution reads:

Now therefore be it resolved, that the Town Council of the Town of East Greenwich, Rhode Island, finds it is critical to good order and public safety to implement the provisions of relevant State law such that local distribution of medical marijuana can be effectively regulated and licensed, and so it does hereby enact a six-month moratorium on the opening of compassion centers, vaping and hookah lounges, and similar or related activities, pending further study and the diligent crafting of land use regulations pertaining to such projects; provided that this moratorium shall not be interpreted to apply to or interfere with qualified patients and their designated caregivers who, pursuant to state law, obtain or cultivate marijuana solely for the qualified patient’s medical treatment.

It omits the words: “new marijuana sales, growth, and/or distribution facilities”

In addition, one of the “whereas” clauses drops the phrase: “Medical marijuana growing and dispensing operations should not create conditions for crime, property damage, or other endangerment;”

Goodbye Parkside, Hello The Trap

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TJ Martucci hopes to entrap his current customers and new ones at The Trap, his new pub that literally rises where the popular Parkside restaurant once stood.

Carpenters hammered nails and wall plasterers worked their hawks silently during a quick check in on Thursday, Feb. 19 by Martucci, who owns the soon to open “Trap” now under construction and Chianti restaurant on the first floor of the building at 195 Old Forge Road.

“The customers are like a family and they loved the cozy feel and the knotty pine of the Parkside,” Martucci said. “They were all asking me, ‘Why are you touching it all?’ I think they deserve a better place and that is what I am trying to give them.”

In other words, if you loved the atmosphere and the food at the Parkside, you will get more of both next month when The Trap opens its doors, hopefully in time for St. Patrick’s Day.

“I bought the restaurant 10 years ago and we have a reputation for great service and good food; our customers and waitstaff are like a big family,” Martucci said. “It is an eclectic group of people. I owed it to my customers to give them a nicer atmosphere.”

The Parkside was run down and needed renovation, he explained. Now it’s getting a complete rehabilitation.

The ceilings were pulled down and the restaurant was ripped out to the wall studs. The new ceiling is 17 feet high, the walls have all been replaced and one side has floor to ceiling windows and sliders that open to a new L-shaped deck. Seating in the pub will be 55, including at the bar, Martucci said.

Six, 75-inch televisions with a new sound system will make The Trap a prime destination to watch games from March Madness right through the college football and NFL seasons.

“By purposely not making this a sports bar we are making a different kind of pub destination,” Martucci said.

The interior of The Trap Pub at 195 Old Forge Road will feature a rustic stye. including old barn boards for the ceiling.
The interior of The Trap Pub at 195 Old Forge Road will feature a rustic stye. including old barn boards for the ceiling.

He said he’s aiming for a rustic feel for the new pub. He is using wood recovered from an old barn and other dismantled older buildings for the walls and ceiling. Mixed industrial fixtures and lighting will be installed.

“We will have a bar like no other in the West Bay,” Martucci said.

Chianti’s remains open during the reconstruction upstairs and its menu will continue in the Trap with the addition of pub food like panini, a variety of hamburgers, and homemade pizza.

“The Trap will be a place were you can come in your shorts and flip flops and have a gourmet meal or build your own 8-ounce hamburger,” he said. “On Mondays we’ll have specials on hot dogs and pasta; Tuesdays, pizza specials; Thursdays, wing night; and build-your-own hamburger on Thursdays.

Customers can bring their dogs with them and order a meal and drinks on the deck. The pub is lining up a supplier for gourmet dog treats, so a pooch won’t need to mooch off his master’s plate.

“We’ll have a ‘yappy hour’ on Thursdays on the patio,” Martucci said.

Martucci’s roots are deep in the restaurant business. His father, Vincent, owned a restaurant in Cranston where Martucci started washing dishes at 8 years old. After a career as a business executive, Martucci left Hasbro Corp. two years ago in keeping with the same philosophy that led him to form the Martucci Restaurant Group in 2004.

“You have to keep reinventing yourself,” Martucci said.

The reinvention that is producing the pub is also a nod to the past. The restaurant at one time was called the Sand Trap because it was an easy stop after a day on the links nearby.

The Trap will have live music and Martucci hopes will be the place that diners from the Main Street restaurants head to for drinks on the deck on warm summer evenings.


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Snow Challenge for Main Street Shops

Lina Piccolina, 58 Main St., was among several stores that didn't open on Presidents Day after a weekend snow storm dumped another 8 inches of white stuff at its door.
Lina Piccolina, 58 Main St., was among several stores that didn’t open on Presidents Day after a weekend snow storm dumped another 8 inches of white stuff at its door.

Business for some stores has been slow because snow piles are keeping customers home and the storms themselves are forcing merchants to close their doors for a day or two at a time to weather nature’s fury.

“I think everybody’s having a hard time getting out of their own houses,” said Courtney Grady-Calcione, owner of David-Max, 187 Main St. “I don’t think the issue is down here on Main Street. The town has done a phenomenal job. I was beyond impressed this year, honestly.”

She said the sidewalks have been cleared and after the heaviest storms tractors scooped up snow banks and the piles were hauled away. An estimated 50-plus inches of snow have fallen since Jan. 1 at the National Weather Service station at T.F. Green Airport in neighboring Warwick.

David-Max is a home goods and artist boutique that provides custom refinishing of furniture, so the business has two revenue streams.

“Sales are better than they were last year, but it has been dead in here,” she said as she snuggled her pet Boston Terrier Brolin while a single shopper roamed the store on a Saturday morning, usually a busy time in better weather.

“Sales are better than they were last year, but it has been dead in here,” said Courtney Grady-Calcione, owner of David-Max, 187 Main St. who was kept company by her Boston Terrier Brolin.
“Sales are better than they were last year, but it has been dead in here,” said Courtney Grady-Calcione, owner of David-Max, 187 Main St. who was kept company by her Boston Terrier Brolin.

“Custom refinishing is what saves me,” she said, whether a customer hauls in a bedroom set or an end table or Grady-Calcione picks it up.

“Even the weather keeping people in benefits me because they are looking around a noticing furniture that needs some work and they call me,” she said.

Further on down Main Street, David and Marie Schaller have found something stronger than a blizzard or sub-freezing temperatures: chocolate.

The Chocolate Delicacy, 219 Main St., had customers waiting their turns on Valentine’s Day, despite the beginning flakes whipping outside for a storm that would dump another 8 inches of snow.

“The town has been doing a good job of clearing the snow after storms,” said Marie Schaller. “But we have been lucky, too, because the way the storms are breaking, they are usually between our times. The weeks before Christmas were busy and right around New Year’s.”

The chocolates and candies inside the shop are an irresistible attraction even when the weatherman as he did on Valentine Day urged drivers to stay home.

"No one is walking Main Street now. I haven’t had any business since the snowstorms started. January, nothing. February, nothing,” said Lynn Murphy  at her Cooler Tees, 175 Main St.
“No one is walking Main Street now. I haven’t had any business since the snowstorms started. January, nothing. February, nothing,” said Lynn Murphy at her Cooler Tees, 175 Main St.

Lynn Murphy said business has been ice cold at her Cooler Tees, 175 Main St., since the Christmas Strolls on Thursday nights.

“It was going awesome,” Murphy said. “I was so busy. Main Street was so busy for the holidays. I was beyond happy. But no one is walking Main Street now. I haven’t had any business since the snowstorms started. January, nothing. February, nothing.”

The store sells custom made t-shirts, as well as hats, sneakers, sweat shirts and more. Family reunion t-shirts, ladies nights out, events, cruise shirts and camp shirts are designed and produced in the store on the same kind of machines used by L.L. Bean and New Balance, Murphy said, on a tour of the store’s work area, which includes computers for design and dozens of yarns for embroidery.

“It is always quiet in January and February, but the storms have hurt us. I am having some very long days,” she said.

zuzu'sThe chain of heavy snowstorms that began in January and continue to pound the area, forced Zuzu’s Petals, 165 Main St., to close its doors for five business days in East Greenwich, said owner Lois Hollingsworth.

“The day before the storm is quiet and the day after the storm is quiet, so business has been effected for 15 to 20 days in January and February,” Hollingsworth said. “It is really tough.”


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Jason’s Restaurant & Sushi Bar Opens On Post Road

Jason'sIt took a while longer than planned, but Jason’s Asian Grille and Sushi Bar is open at 5647 Post Road, across from the Benny’s Plaza.

The restaurant is a cousin, of sorts, to Jackie’s Waterplace in Providence – owner Jason Ko is cousin of Jackie Ko, owner of Waterplace.

Jason’s joins Raku Sakura and Kon Asian Bistro in East Greenwich in offering a cross-section of Asian foods – Chinese, Japanese and Southeast Asian specialties.

 

 

 

 

AfterProm EG Gets Boost From Local Businesses

afterprom EG tio mateos
Tio Mateo’s Ross DiSegna gets an AfterProm EG sticker from student Molly Souness for being a supporter.

Organizing East Greenwich’s very first AfterProm EG event may have seemed daunting when it was first conceived eight months ago, but the reception for it has been so positive, said organizers, that it now seems like an obvious move.

AfterProm EG will be held overnight following the formal prom, at a transformed East Greenwich High School. The idea is to provide a safe and fun place for young people on a night that can prove dangerous.

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Kelsey Martirano and Webster Bank Branch Manager Michael Kelly.

“The response has been better than we could have hoped,” said Mary Louise Formisano, who was the first to push for the event. Not only have loads of talented volunteers come out of the woodwork, so have sponsors, she said.

The EG Chamber of Commerce has made AfterProm EG a beneficiary of its annual “Here’s to the Ladies” fashion show April 30. And the EG Rotary Club has committed its fundraising might to the event.

“We are all so impressed with the idea and your presentation – we’re happy to be supporting you and your committee,” EG Rotary President Ron Winde told organizers.

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Cole 8th graders Jules Abella, Ellie Sheridan, Maxine Sidman, Molly Souness and Kelsey Martirano give a sticker to Dr. Jacqueline Boisvert of Rhode Eyeland for being a supporter of AfterProm EG.

Zuzu’s Petals dress shop is planning a prom “pre-party” March 8, from 5 to 8 p.m., with 20 percent of all sales going to AfterProm EG.

Of course, all this doesn’t mean their work is finished. AfterProm EG is looking for more sponsors and more volunteers. If you are interested in helping out, email afterpromeg@gmail.com.

 

For $5K, Main Street Sidewalk Snow Goes Poof!

sidewalks w:o snow 1
The scene on Main Street Wednesday morning, just a couple of hours after DWP workers finished clearing all the snow from the sidewalks.

If you were walking on Main Street on Tuesday, you had to navigate among snow berms. By Wednesday morning, however, those snow berms were gone. Magic!

Not quite magic. Instead, a long night’s work.

The town’s public works department spent Tuesday night into early Wednesday morning shoveling and scooping up all the snow along Main Street from First Avenue to Division Street and bringing it to the upper parking lot at the town boat launch on Crompton Avenue.

sidewalks w:o snow 3
This sidewalk on London Street shows what the Main Street sidewalks looked like before they were cleared.

The snow mountains there cover more than half  the lot.

“This was more than we typically would bring  there,” said DPW head Joe Duarte. “We’ve had very  little melting and lots of snow in a short period.”

Duarte’s snow removal budget was looking good  until 10 days ago, when the “Juno” blizzard hit,  dumping 17 inches of snow on East Greenwich,  quickly followed by 5 more inches Thursday and  another 8 inches Monday.

“At the rate we’re going, this is not going to be a cheap year,” Duarte said Wednesday.

Clearing the snow off the Main Street sidewalks costs about $5,000, he said. The crew started at 10 p.m. Tuesday and went until around 7 a.m. Wednesday morning.

sidewalks w:o snow 4
A view of the sidewalk snow piled up on the boat launch upper parking lot on Crompton Avenue.

The town doesn’t remove the snow for every storm – only for big ones. Former Town Manager Bill Sequino said the town’s sidewalk clearing efforts predate his arrival in 1988. He guessed it got started because Main Street is a state road and the plows would push snow up to the curbs and over onto the sidewalks.

It’s helpful for anyone coming to Main Street, he said. Without clearing the snow off the sidewalks, even parking a car and getting out of it is a challenge.

EG Chamber of Commerce head Steve Lombardi said the town’s effort was well worth it.

“We are grateful to the town for removing the snow,” he said via email. “We know they have been dealing with a large volume and high frequency of snow, so the effort is appreciated. Removing the snow helps our merchants so their customers can have access to their places of business. Small businesses appreciate the help – every day they can welcome their customers is a plus.”

According to Duarte, there’s a chance the town won’t have to foot the bill for all the recent plowing and snow removal costs. The town has applied for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) money to help pay for blizzard expenses. No word yet from FEMA and more snow is in the forecast.


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