The magnificent Metacomet property, formerly the Metacomet golf club, was purchased by a developer in October 2020, after months of trying to convince the public of the economic benefit of its destruction. The golf club was shut down shortly thereafter. This 138-acre site has been an iconic piece of the East Providence (RI) community for over 100 years. Originally designed in 1902, the 18-hole course was re-designed in 1924 by the legendary and award-winning Donald Ross. The clubhouse, which is in imminent danger of demolition, was built in 1919 by the renowned architectural firm William R. Walker and Sons. Along with serving the membership’s needs, the clubhouse has been the venue for countless private and public events over many, many years. The property is also home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, including a great number of mature trees, marshlands, coyotes, turkeys, rabbits, owls, eagles, turtles, and more.
Keep Metacomet Green! (KMG) is a grassroots organization that was created in July 2020 in opposition to the destruction of the property and its re-development as a so-called “village within a village” and in support of preservation of the green and open space there. KMG currently has a membership of 2800 in its online group and hosts a petition that has garnered nearly 5,000 signatures to date. In a city with a population of 47,500 residents, this is a clear indication of massive support for KMG’s efforts.
So far, KMG has employed typical grassroots methods: pounding the streets with flyers, rallying at City Hall and at the gate to Metacomet, distributing over 800 yard signs, creating informative video interviews with local leaders and experts in their fields, petitioning the City Council, and seeking out media coverage. All these efforts have largely been self-funded.
As of February 2021, thanks to the efforts of KMG and the community, the East Providence City Council and the R.I. General Assembly are considering eminent domain to purchase and preserve Metacomet. Unfortunately, though, KMG is facing a two-front battle, not only with the developer itself, but also with a City administration that is determined to pave over luxuriant green space with concrete.
In order to stay in the game with the big boys, KMG is aware that it may need a formal relationship with an attorney to represent us who is well-versed in land preservation matters. We also need to blanket the community with flyers that are more sophisticated than the simple home-printed ones that we handed out door-to-door during the summer. In addition, we need to ramp up our ad buys in the local media.
For these and any other financial needs that may come up, we are reaching out to the larger community that reveres open space and that agrees with us that destroying nature to build a concrete jungle makes no sense economically or environmentally and especially not in the post-COVID world, where everything from retail sales to visits to the doctor are increasingly accomplished online.
Please help us soon with whatever amount you can give. The developer is poised to begin demolition of the clubhouse now, and the trees may be next. If we do not use the monies collected for the purposes mentioned above, we will donate any unspent funds to the upkeep of the new Metacomet green space or to a nonprofit greenspace organization.
Please see our Facebook group at www.facebook.com/groups/keepmetacometgreen
- Marilyn Eanet
- MaryElla Dubreuil
- Marcia Braganca
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