I’d like to thank the Westerly Sun and Cynthia Drummond for running an article on this initiative. It’s important that the people of Hopkinton are aware of the State’s plans for the town and that Hopkinton has a voice in the planning.
I’d also like to point out that instead of a $12 million welcome center, the state might use the funds for other area infrastructure and transportation improvements. Such as: Improved commuter rail in Westerly or safe bike ways.
Bike paths would attract eco tourists, connect the western part of the state for cyclists, and reduce Rhode Island’s reliance on automobiles/gasoline. Did you know that a bike path from Richmond to Westerly beaches would only take about an hour to ride? Imagine riding to work! Or imagine bypassing the hour long ride in traffic to visit Misquamicut in the summer!
Also, if the state decides against seizing the Exit 1 property, the land could be used for small business. Like the HTP Meds operation that runs a clean shop and employs local people, or provide space for outfits like B2B Global to move their corporate office to Hopkinton. The property at Exit 1 is valuable not only to the Town for tax revenue, but to the State for job growth and economic development. High paying professional and technical jobs can be developed on that land, but not if it’s taken by a rest stop.
Let’s not waste an opportunity for strong economic development in Rhode Island. The State knows that a rest area doesn’t make sense that’s why it closed the one a few miles away. Let’s not waste $12 million on building a new rest stop when we already have one that we aren’t using.