WESTERLY – Those interested in contributing ideas on potential future uses for the former Tower Street Schoolhouse are invited to attend a public forum breakfast scheduled for July 19 from 8-10 a.m. at the Westerly Yacht Club.
Forum organizers are asking those planning to attend to register or confirm their attendance in order to assess the amount of food to be provided. To RSVP, email: [email protected] Those requiring special assistance or accommodations for the forum are asked to call 401-348-2532. Registration is not required, city officials said.
The Royce Family Fund entered into a hire-purchase agreement with the city for the Tower Street School building and approximately 11 acres of property in December and has offered to facilitate a community conversation about potential uses for the property. The fund works in partnership with the city, the Westerly Education Center and the Ocean Community YMCA.
A project team is in the outreach phase of the project and is seeking input from community members on needs and gaps in services that could potentially be filled by reusing or rebuilding the facility. The aim of the forum is to hear from a wide range of voters from the greater Westerly community, the fund said in a press release.
In addition to the upcoming forum, the outreach effort included interviews with residents and others, including former users of the center. City Council members said they hoped some of the City Recreation Department’s programs could be carried out at the Tower Street location.
The Royce Family Fund initially began discussions about the property with the town council after learning that the building could be razed and the property sold. News of the potential sale prompted sustained complaints from some of Tower Street School Community Center‘s former tenants and users. A number of education-oriented services were offered at the community center, including children’s programs and camps, community meals, yoga, and literacy.
The fund has discussed reusing the former school for the location and expansion of community-oriented charitable entities, such as the Westerly Education Center (WEC), Ocean Community YMCA and others. The process of determining the future uses of the property is expected to take up to two years.
The Royce Family Fund was instrumental in conceptualizing and financing the creation of the Westerly Education Center and was also instrumental in the renovation of the Ocean Community YMCA, the construction of the United Theater and the construction and operation of the Washington Trust Community Skating Rink.