McAllister still would like to save Buttonwoods Center

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The Buttonwoods Community Center senior activities have relocated or closed down in keeping with the mayor’s plan to sell the former elementary school, but Ward 7 Councilman Steve McAllister holds out hope that the facility can carry on.

McAllister, accompanied by City Council President Joseph Solomon, met with Mayor Scott Avedisian Thursday. Also present were chief of staff David Picozzi and Meg Underwood, director of the Pilgrim Senior Center.

Both Avedisian and McAllister called the meeting cordial. Neither side backed down from their positions, however.

“I didn’t change his mind,” said McAllister. “He didn’t change my mind.”

McAllister isn’t alone in his thinking. The City Council unanimously approved a resolution to keep the community center open, one of the few times during his tenure as mayor the council has unanimously rejected one of his initiatives.

Avedisian maintains it is too costly to operate the center ($74,426.60 annually) and that capital improvements projected at $463,000 make it unreasonable to keep when senior activities can be housed at the Pilgrim Senior Center as well as the Cooper Armory on Sandy Lane when that opens later this year.

He plans to have the center appraised and then advertise for bids. Sale of the property will require council approval.

McAllister believes the center should be saved. He has talked with Westbay Community Action, which has expressed interest in leasing additional space if not relocating the Westbay Marketplace to the building. Westbay director Paul Salera has said the agency is interested if an expanded lease or purchase fits within the Westbay budget.

“We’re sending the wrong message. We’re closing a community center,” McAllister said.

He said he has received numerous calls, emails and letters from seniors who used the facility to play cards or bingo on a weekly basis. Two of those card leagues have relocated while a third closed. Bingo was relocated to the JONAH center in Oakland Beach.

McAllister maintains many of the seniors using Buttonwoods – between 300 and 400 weekly – won’t travel the distance to meet elsewhere and that they will lose the socialization that was important to them.

He said Westbay offered use of the center’s main meeting room if it should lease more of the building or acquire it. Westbay and Comprehensive Community Action Program (CCAP) rentals generated $26,400 annually.

McAllister suggests the city lease space to Westbay for another three months that would “give us more time” to explore options. What he doesn’t want to see happen is for the building to close “and sit there and rot.”

“I don’t know what the rush is [to close and sell it],” he said.

McAllister doesn’t dispute the building needs work. Nonetheless, he adds, “I can’t support selling it at this time.”

McAllister said he feels the mayor is receptive to ideas to save the center, although a plan hasn’t emerged at this point.

In an email Wednesday, Avedisian said additional lease income from Westbay would not “amount to a cash infusion that makes the building more viable.”

Comments

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richardcorrente

Mayor Avedisian has a full page political ad running every month in the "Pilgrim Senior Times". It is cleverly misrepresented as a letter from the Mayor, but make no doubt about it; it's his monthly full page advertisement to keep the senior vote going to him and I don't think he pays a penny for it. I called Meg Underwood personally during the 2016 campaign but she refused to allow me to advertise in her newspaper "at any price" when I ran as the endorsed Democrat for Mayor. She insured that the guy that got her the job was protected.

Political underhandedness? Sure.

Sour grapes on my part? Yes, a little, but all I wanted was a level playing field so that seniors would hear the good and the bad of both candidates. That's fair. Isn't it? When I visited senior centers I got larger crowds than him even though he bought them chowder and clam cakes. All I could afford was Corrente cookies, candy, cupcakes, coffee and Coca-Cola. When I spoke to seniors one-on-one they all agreed with my ideas. Every senior receives the Pilgrim Senior News every month edifying Mayor Avedisian, complements of Mayor Avedisian, but paid for by the taxpayers dollars.

Legal? Maybe. Maybe not.

But isn't it suspicious that the same Mayor that counted on the seniors vote is now abandoning them right after he got re-elected. I sincerely hope that all Warwick seniors remember "Avedisian-Closing-Buttonwoods", because the 2018 elections are around the corner and I doubt I'll be able to advertise in Meg Underwoods' newspaper then either. We'll see.

Happy Spring everyone.

Rick Corrente

The Taxpayers Mayor

Thursday, March 16
Thecaptain

Please go away.

Friday, March 17
CrickeeRaven

Hello Thecaptain:

I provide the following for your future use in replying to the defeated candidate; simply copy and paste these links to show readers his history of lying and the fact that more than 26,000 voters rejected his candidacy:

http://warwickpost.com/numbers-game-corrente-claims-of-lost-businesses-dont-add-up/

http://www.ri.gov/election/results/2016/general_election/warwick/

Friday, March 17
Scal1024

Rick, you loaned your campaign $30,000 and you couldn't afford clamcakes and chowder? Thank god the voters kept you as far away from our cities finances as possible. I can't begin to imagine what kind of accounting you'd come up with when it comes to my money.

Friday, March 17
NoStoryHere

How much is the Mayor paying to his friend Councilwoman Donna Travis the President of JONAH, INC. for having Bingo there?. The same Donna Travis currently under investigation for two complaints before the RI Ethics Commission, with all four of the allegations in the two complaints involving JONAH, INC.

IT APPEARS THE ETHICS DON'T FALL FAR FROM THE TREE IN WARWICK !!

Sunday, March 19
richardcorrente

Dear Scal,

I contributed over $38,000 (your number was off) of my own money to my campaign, preferring to put my money where my mouth was rather that use "other peoples money" like Mayor Avedisian did.As a result, I received more votes than any previous Avedisian opponent in 16 years!

As you know, I allowed no Political Action Committee (PAC) donations. Scott Avedisian by contrast received 237 PAC checks. In the history of the United States there has NEVER BEEN ONE DONATION from one Political Action Committee that didn't have an expectation (demand?) of preferential treatment after the election. That is the ONLY reason a candidate gets a PAC check. You know that Scal. You were one of those checks! My 13,278 votes were received the old fashioned way. I earned every one of them! I campaigned for over 700 days in a row and I EARNED THEM! My supporters Scal, are LOYAL SUPPORTERS. Avedisians are "bought and paid for" and will have to be "bought and paid for" in the 2018 election as well. My 13,278 supporters won't receive kick-back jobs, eliminated or lowered water bills, of any other "preferential treatment. My 13,278 will only get larger in 2018. Why? Because I am solely accountable to the 80,000 Warwick taxpayers, not the 237 PACs that now have their hand out to Avedisian. My programs benefit everyone and I clearly explained them many times. (You even commented that you agreed with them until the Mayor told you to attack me on them instead.)

Here's my point. Last election I gained 13,278 votes which are now 13,278 loyal supporters. That's what you political insiders call "a base".

See you in 2018 Scal. No one has a more loyal "base".than Corrente-for-Mayor. Face it Scal. Without 237 Political Action Committees backing him, Avedisian would never have received the amount of votes he got. I believe he would have lost the election to me. He owes the election to you and I am sure you told him that.

Happy Spring Scal.

Happy Spring everyone.

Rick Corrente

The Taxpayers Mayor (not the Political insiders)

Monday, March 20
CrickeeRaven

Hello again Scal1024:

As you see, nothing has changed with the losing candidate for mayor as far as his terrible record with numbers. He claims 13,278 voters in 2016 as continued supporters, ignores the 26,000+ who rejected his candidacy, then claims he is "accountable" to "80,000 Warwick taxpayers" while deflecting attention from his obvious lies by attacking the legally and duly elected mayor.

You can see the obvious errors in his statements, even though the losing candidate apparently will not. For one thing, there are not 80,000 taxpayers in Warwick. That figure is for the number of residents in the city and includes the school children who are not old enough to vote or pay taxes.

And as Thecaptain has pointed out repeatedly, the rejected candidate is a tax delinquent, meaning he has not held himself accountable for paying his share of the property tax burden. You will no doubt recall that, despite his claims of a dark conspiracy to raise his property valuations, the fact is that his overall property taxes would not have increased in the 2017-18 fiscal year: http://warwickpost.com/correntes-attacks-fail-on-the-facts/

This makes his tax delinquency all the more troubling, and further erodes any truth to his claims of "accountability."

Please continue to join me and the thousands of Warwick voters and residents who rightfully do not believe the defeated candidate's false claims.

Monday, March 20