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Voters To Decide on Beach Pavilion in November

The Middletown Council unanimously approved the beach pavilion bond referendum Monday night. Estimated construction costs are $4.5 million.

After nearly a decade of discussions, Middletown residents will vote on a bond referendum to construct a new pavilion at . First proposed by Councilor Chris Semonelli, the council unanimously voted to approve the motion during Monday night’s regular council meeting.

According to town administrator Shawn Brown, the estimated cost would be around $4.5 million. The individual property tax rate would increase around .14 cents, from $13.73 to $13.87. For a house valued at $290,000, that would translate into a $41 increase. For a commercial property valued at $676,000, it would increase taxes by $96.

John Bagwill, Director of Easton’s Point Association, said the board of directors also voted unanimously to support the referendum early that day.   

“Let the public decide,” said Bagwill.

Rian Wilkinson, chair of Middletown’s Beach Commission  said that when the same subject came up for vote in 2008, it was a "blessing in disguise" that it was not approved, since that was right before the economy took a sharp turn for the worse.

Last November, the commission recommended the town build the pavilion with an attached events deck, per the recommendation of the architectural firm RKG Associates, which was hired by the town to conduct a feasibility study. The other option outlined was to build a beach pavilion as well as an event’s pavilion, similar to Easton’s Beach in Newport.

Despite that the economy is still rocky, Wilkinson said the time to build is now. He pointed out that the town could take advantage of the low interest rates and low cost of materials to keep costs under control.  He also said that the construction of the building would provide jobs.     

“There is never a right time” agreed David P. Leys, vice chair of the Beach Commission. “You have to just go ahead and bite the bullet."

Leys also pointed out with the City of Newport’s recent improvements to Easton’s Beach such as the UV Treatment Plant and the Seaweed Eater, the competition for beach goers might get tough.  

Councilor Richard Cambra said that while he is fiscally conservative, the problem is not going to go away on its own.  

“The building is not going to get any better,” said Cambra.  

2nd Beach April 03, 2012 at 03:50 PM
Great news….. but remember the most expensive words known to man are…. “while you are at it”. Hoping we have a solid, workable design in place.
Tom April 04, 2012 at 05:03 PM
Stop the Insanity!!!! People, bonds are not free. You will be required to pay them back. We were hoodwinked into paying for a new Police Station that was not needed. Now we are going to be hoodwinked into building a new beach pavilion. Folks, I have some news for you; Tourists will come to second beach regardless of the pavilion. Tourists will come to the beach, and then they will leave. Don’t think for a second they will frequent your stores. They will NOT. If anything, after a day at the beach, the will head to Newport. We will pay more property taxes and Newport will enjoy the fruits of our taxes. Lastly, consider this little tid-bit; not only will you will pay more taxes for the benefit of Newport, but you will still be required to pay for an annual pass to the Second Beach Parking lot. Stop the insanity and DO NOT VOTE FOR THIS!!!
GP April 04, 2012 at 07:48 PM
When do we ever consider amenities other than sand and water when it comes time to go to a beach? A new pavillion will not yield an increase in local business sales. A new pavillion will serve what purpose? If its cloudy/rainy out, people arent going to say, "We should go to 2nd beach anyways, i hear they got a brand new pavillion." They just did another home value assessment, and although most home values went down, we conveniently haven't identified the mil rate. So, although the yearly tax increase to property based on a new pavillion would be relatively minimal, it could be compounded by the new mil rate, and we would as taxpayers would suffer. We need to tighten the belt in this town, and we all know a $4.5M budget estimate can be blown out of the water when construction in an environmentally sensitive site is in process. Tourists go to Eastons beach because it is closer to Newport, it is not because it is a better beach. We as locals all know which beach is better and that is 2nd.
Maggie April 04, 2012 at 11:37 PM
Middletown has enough stores on West Main Road and in the 2 Mile Corner area. We don't need them at Second Beach. Pay-as-U-throw is paid for by subscribers. Beach improvements should be paid for by Beach revenue.
Timpo Jones April 06, 2012 at 11:41 AM
So if I understand this correctly. My property tax will go up so the lifeguards at 2nd beach can have nice showers? The Town wants me to pay them more money so beach-goers can have a nice place to buy hotdogs? Despite the increase in property taxes, I still am required to purchase a beach pass? And building this beach pavilion will not generate tax revenue in order to lower my property taxes? Am I the only one that thinks this is government out of control? Can I vote now?

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