Mary Bush-Brown, an Aquidneck Land Trust (“ALT”) Trustee and Principal of Bush-Brown & Associates Landscape Design, Inc., based in Boston, MA, created an artistic conceptual rendering of the waterfront park portion of ALT’s proposal to conserve and enhance the Glen in Portsmouth.
The purpose of the rendering is to help the public and the Town of Portsmouth envision how beautiful and beneficial a public waterfront park could be in place of the old Elmhurst School building once it is demolished.
In February of this year, ALT submitted a proposal to conserve and enhance the Glen to the Town’s Elmhurst Planning Committee. The basic three-part proposal which ALT currently has on the table is as follows:
- ALT to provide $1,000,000 to the Town for the removal of the Elmhurst School building, except possibly the associated chapel;
- ALT to provide a $150,000 challenge grant to the Town for restoration of the historic structures within the Glen such as the old Taylor barns or the Brown House; and
- The aforementioned amounts, which total $1,150,000, would be ready for the Town to draw on per the Agreement upon the Town conveying a mutually acceptable perpetual Conservation Easement to ALT on the area of the Glen roughly outlined in yellow on the map which would include a major new public waterfront park once the Elmhurst School building is removed. Any savings on the above-mentioned $1,000,000 for the demolition and removal of the Elmhurst School building would be used to help develop the proposed public waterfront park (park benches, a gazebo, etc.).
On May 22, 2012, there was a public workshop at the Portsmouth Town Hall where ALT’s three-part proposal was discussed at length. Numerous Town committees and organizations came out in support of ALT’s proposal such as the following: the Newport County Chamber of Commerce; the Elmhurst Planning Committee; the Portsmouth Open Space Committee; the Glen Park Working Authority; the Glen Manor House Authority; the Portsmouth Conservation Commission; the Lower Glen Farm Preservation Committee; the Agriculture Committee; Preserve Portsmouth; Friends of the Glen Manor House; the Aquidneck Island Planning Commission; Portsmouth Youth Soccer Association; Portsmouth Youth Lacrosse; Portsmouth Youth Sailing; Friends of the Brown House; the Portsmouth Historical Society; and the Portsmouth Garden Club. On June 11, 2012, the Portsmouth Town Council embraced this concept proposed by ALT and endorsed placing a referendum question about it on a ballot for an election to be held no later than April 30, 2013. On June 19, 2012, ALT submitted to the Town, for its review, a draft Agreement and Conservation Easement for ALT’s proposal to conserve and enhance the Glen.
“We applaud Mary Bush-Brown for giving us all a helpful image of what is possible with this exciting proposal to conserve and enhance the Glen. I know Portsmouth residents look forward to voting on the Aquidneck Land Trust’s proposal in the near future, and we look forward to their decision by April 30, 2013 if not sooner. When ALT and a municipality positively come together lasting public benefits are created such as our Sakonnet Greenway Trail or the number of public parks that we have protected with our partners,” said Ted Clement, ALT’s Executive Director.
ALT’s time-sensitive mission is to conserve Aquidneck Island's open spaces and natural character for the lasting benefit of our community. The organization has conserved 2,386.50 acres on 66 properties across Aquidneck Island since its founding in 1990. ALT is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and the first land trust in Rhode Island to have received national accreditation. For more information, visit www.AquidneckLandTrust.org.