HistWick Supports West Main Street Improvements

HistWick has written to the Town Council in support of the efforts of the Wickford Plan Committee as they address the issues on West Main Street.

“We strongly believe resolving these problems, subject to the guidelines of the Wickford Village Plan and The Historic District Commission, will greatly improve the quality of life for the residents and businesses in the village as well as the entire town. HistWick and its seventy member families look forward to partnering with other interested organizations to advance this badly-needed project.”

Wickford Plan Committee Addressing Town Council Monday, October 6

Wickford In Bloom a Success

This summer HistWick hosted Wickford in Bloom, a tour of 12 gardens throughout Wickford. Approximately 300 people toured the gardens, and all were delighted by the beauty and wide range of flowers and settings offered in the tour.  In fact a few attendees declared Wickford in Bloom as The Best Garden Tour in New England.

Visitors enjoyed watching the artists at work, as they captured the beauty of each garden and all remarked on the high quality of organization the friendliness of everyone involved with the tour.

Credit goes to a terrific committee who worked tirelessly to create the perfect garden experience. We even got our request for perfect weather! Committee members are Sia Bauer, Judy Bitting, Barbara Carroll, Kate Church, Ellen Dacey, Nancy Gauthier, Nora Hall, Brenda Johnston, Mary Padbury, Kathy Romeo, Michelle Sammartino and Carol Thomas.  The Committee members are delighted to have raised $2000 for the North Kingstown Food Bank and contributed to the ongoing support for historic preservation from the profits of the tour.

2014 Wickford In Bloom – Saturday, June 28th

Historic Wickford will present Wickford in Bloom, a garden tour of twelve private and public gardensin Wickford on Saturday, June 28, 2014, rain or shine, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.  This is a self-guided tour through the village that allows everyone to explore a unique collection of gardens.  Designs of the gardens vary—from cottage-inspired gardens, to small hidden gardens, to a Japanese inspired garden.

The 2014 garden tour will feature gardens on the properties of eighteenth and nineteenth century homes and buildings—some on the picturesque harbor and others on the tree-lined village streets, with each garden featuring a local artist on location painting.  

A renowned Rhode Island Landscape Architect will be on hand to answer questions.  A raffle will also be held featuring items including  a $1,200 gift certificate for a complete Master Garden plan donated by Wickford Collections, and a beautiful hand-made quilt by Mary Padbury.

Tickets may be purchased in advance for $25 at fine stores throughout the village, including:  The Book Garden, Blue Hydrangea, Beauty and the Bath,  Wickford Collections, all located in Wickford Village, and at the North Kingstown Chamber of Commerce.  Tickets may also be purchased for $30 on the day of the tour, Saturday, June 28, 2014, at Wickford Collections, located in Wickford Village at Brown and West Main Street.

Mark your calendar for Saturday, June 28th.  It will be a time to view beautiful gardens, visit with neighbors and friends, talk with talented artists and perhaps learn about new flowers for your own garden in this historic seaside village.

Best of all, your ticket purchase will help support community needs and historic preservation efforts of Historic Wickford and North Kingstown.

Don’t miss it.  The last garden tour was wonderful. Check it out.


Exciting plans for Old Town Hall and the Wickford Art Association

 At the recent Annual Meeting Tim Cranston gave us an update on the original Town Hall which has been moved from West Main Street to Boone Street.  The hall will be used for meetings and the site will be beautifully landscaped and include a new playground. 

We also heard from Sarah Tallarico, the Gallery Director, who told us about the Wickford Art Association’s plans to expand their building.  The new facility will include art rooms as well as meeting rooms and possible function rooms.  There will even be a rooftop terrace.  The plans are ready and they are developing a strategy for raising the funds needed to proceed. 



2014 Annual Meeting – March 27th at Wickford Art Association


The Annual Meeting was held on Thursday, March 27th at the Wickford Art Association. 

The new Board of Directors was voted in:

HistWick Board of Directors

President: Larry Ehrhardt
Vice President: Open
Secretary: Mary Ann Hackett
Treasurer: Mike Dacey
Archivist: Open


  • Charles Bauer
  • Andrew Correia
  • Mike Donohue
  • Linda Piedra
  • William Sabo
  • Carol Thomas

Advisors to the Board:

  • Peter Galster
  • Nancy Gauthier

Following this Tim Cranston gave us an update on the Old Town Hall.   We also heard from Sarah Tallarico, the Gallery Director, who told us about the Wickford Art Association expansion plans.   For details of both projects see the article.






HistWick Newsletter: We are Making a Difference.

Town Council Votes to Limit Wickford Sewers to Commercial Properties

In response to the overwhelming opposition from the owners of residential property in the area, the Town Council voted to limit the proposedWickfordVillagesewer project to commercial properties only.

The line will serviceBrown Street;Mainfrom #20 to the Wickford Package Store; and any commercial properties on Phillips along the way to a pump station at Wickford El. Most parcels would be served by a “low pressure” main that requires a holding tank and macerator pump be installed in each basement. Each lot of record would be assessed at least one Equivalent Dwelling Unit (EDU). Properties with high water usage would be assessed more than one. The base cost is estimated at $2.97 million or $57,100 per EDU. Connection and maintenance costs are the responsibility of the individual property owners.

The status and participation of Wickford El is unclear at this point. Including that project would add $1.9 million to the cost but lower slightly the assessment per EDU.

Residential properties abutting the line would not be subject to assessment UNLESS they choose to connect.

While the council has approved the project in principle many details need to be worked out and a special town-wide election will be required for a bond issue.

We want to thank everyone who helped with the survey and thank the town council for their response.

You may also want to view the Northeast Independent article.


Sewers: Town Council Discussions Continue

The Town Council continued it’s discussions about bringing sewers to Wickford and it appears that our feedback and that of others is being heard.  New options were presented.

The Northeast Independent article appeared this Thursday In summary

  • “The Town Council has unanimously approved the extension of sewers to the north end of Post Road– from Route 403 to School Street– and turned down plans to install sewer lines in the Shore Acres residential neighborhood. The question of whether to bring sewers to Wickford remains unresolved, and the council plans to continue that discussion at Monday night’s meeting.”

See the full article: Council approves sewers for north end of Post Road.

HistWck Board member Larry Ehrhardt has written the following report on the discussion on sewering Wickford at last night’s Town Council meeting including details on the new options.

Town Council meeting January 16, 2014

The NK Town Council took three important steps relating to sewer projects at their January 16 meeting.

  1. Voted to extend the sewer project north along thePost Roadfrom Quonset toSchool Street. The bond issue will require voter approval. It was not decided whether to hold a special election or wait until November.
  2. VOTED TO NOT PURSUE PLANS for extending sewers to Cedarhurst and Shore Acres. There was little discussion but the impression given was that the lack of resident support (53% opposed, only 47% for) was the deciding factor.
  3. Received, but did not act on, several new alternatives for the Wickford sewer project. The most important, Alternative F is discussed below.

 Alternative F recognizes the tremendous opposition by owners of residential property to earlier plans.

  • It focuses on providing service only to the Wickford business district on Brown Street; Main from #20 to the Wickford Package Store; the south side of Phillips to #145; and Wickford El. It would cover 102 Equivalent Dwelling Units of which 16 are residential and 86 are commercial. The average cost/EDU would be $65,000. The consultant raised the idea of charging residential properties a lower amount, $25,000., which would raise the commercial rate to $73,000. If the 16 residential properties were excluded, the commercial rate would rise to $77,000./EDU.
  • It was mentioned that the Wickford El project would be rated at 37 EDU which means it could be facing an assessment of well over $2 million.

Alternatives G and H built on F by extending service up Boone to Tower Hill and adding many more residential properties. If the added residential properties were assessed at the same $25,000 rate, the commercial rate would still remain fairly high. Based on our survey results and last night’s speakers, there should be no interest in pursuing either of those alternatives.

Next Steps

  • The Director of the Chamber of Commerce stated she would hold a meeting of their members to determine their level of interest a cost/EDU in the $70,000+ range.
  • The council will continue its deliberations at their next meeting (January 27?).
  • In the meantime we will try to survey the 16 affected homeowners on Brown and Phillips Street to ensure they are heard.
  • Owners of commercial property should consider their interest at these cost levels and make sure the council is aware of their conclusions.

HistWick Sewer Survey Results – UPDATED


As a service to their members, the Board of Directors of HistWick  conducted a survey of the residential property owners within Wickford’s historic district. The owners were given a summary of the November 25 Town Council presentation and discussion of Wickford sewer alternatives as well as a link to the recording of the council meeting so they could be fully briefed on the subject.  (See earlier News post for summary)

Each property owner was asked whether they supported or opposed bringing the sewer line to their street at the relevant cost per Equivalent Dwelling Unit (EDU) shown in the presentation.

The survey results which were reported to the Town Council on January 10th show a clear majority opposed to the options under discussion.  Subsequently, a new Alternative (F) was proposed, one which focuses on the business district but includes some residential properties.   HistWick then made a second effort to reach residents impacted by Alternative F and sent a letter on January 25th with those results so the Town Council would have them before their next meeting on January 27th.

The letters, with the survey results, follow.

January 25th Letter – Alternative F

At your meeting on January 16 you received a new proposal, Alternate F, that focused on the Wickford business district. You were told that the plan encompassed 86 commercial Equivalent Dwelling Units (EDU) and 16 residential EDU’s. While the average cost/EDU would be $64,910. the consultant suggested that the 16 residential units might be assessed at a lower rate of $25,000. I told you that HistWick had not previously surveyed those residential units but that we would do so prior to your next meeting. As before, the survey consisted of asking owners of residential property whether they supported or opposed bringing the sewer line to their house at the costs per EDU shown in the council presentation.

It soon became apparent that there was a discrepancy regarding the residential count that only included 16 properties south of Phillips Street. It turns out that there are also three such properties on Brown Street and one, two-family house on West Main. While the status of some properties may require closer review by the town it appears there may be as many as 20 in all.

We were able to contact 15 residential property owners with the following results:

  • 12 opposed
  • 1 for
  • 2 no response

We hope the council will give these results serious consideration.


Laurence W. Ehrhardt

on behalf of the

Board of Directors


January 10th Letter – Alternatives A-E

In our letter to you dated December 10, 2013 we reported on the results of a survey of the residential property owners within Wickford’s historic district as to whether they supported or opposed bringing the sewer line to their street at the relevant cost per Equivalent Dwelling Unit (EDU) shown in November’s council presentation.

The number of responses has increased from just over 100 in December to 138! An overwhelming majority of 115 or 83% are opposed to the proposals for residential service. Updated survey results are as follows:

MAIN STREET & EAST (all neighborhoods added in Alternative E)

There are approximately 150 properties in this area of which 140 are residential and the remainder owned by churches, marinas, a club and one retail business.

Responses were received for 86 of the 140 residential properties, a response rate of 61%. Opponents (67) outnumbered supporters (10) by a ratio of almost seven to one. There were 8 undecided and 1 abstention.

WEST MAIN STREET & NEWTOWN (neighborhoods added in Alternative D)

There are approximately 48 properties in this area of which 39 are residential. The remainder encompass 9 commercial properties and 1 church.

Responses were received for 19 of the 39 residential properties, a response rate of 49%. Owners of 16 of the properties opposed the plans, only 1 supported them, and 2 were undecided.

Newly tabulated results for additional affected neighborhoods are as follows:

ELAM STREET (Alternatives B through E)

There are approximately 15 residential properties in this neighborhood. Owners of 11 of those properties have responded with 10 opposed and 1 undecided.


There are approximately 31 residential properties in this neighborhood. Owners of 22 of those properties have responded with all 22 opposed.

I believe the more than 100 responses to the survey represent a significant cross section of the residential property owners who would be required to pay for the alternatives, and a clear statement of opposition to residential service by an overwhelming majority.

Anecdotally, many respondents made remarks to the effect that they had only recently installed new Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems (OWTS) at the direction of the state and town, and/or that their present systems complied with RIDEM regulations and were functioning just fine. A few others recognized that they had yet to comply with the new regulations but they had indications the cost of doing so would be less than the assessment numbers in the town’s presentation.

We hope the council will give these results serious consideration.

This letter is intended solely to report to the council the results of our survey and does not represent an official position of Historic Wickford Inc.


Laurence W. Ehrhardt

on behalf of the

Board of Directors


Historic Wickford Inc. (HistWick) is a nonprofit organization established to preserve, protect and celebrate the cultural and historic features of Wickford and its environs. HistWick strives to enhance the beauty of our village, preserve its architectural integrity, protect its harbor and the surrounding bay and improve the quality of life for all who live in or visit the village.

Activities during the year include community pot-luck meals, garden and kitchen tours, walking tours with information on the many historic buildings and educational programs on the renovation and the history of Wickford. In addition, Historic Wickford collaborates with numerous community organizations to support activities and special events that celebrate and improve the quality of life in the Village.



Ongoing Discussions for Bringing Sewers to Wickford – Information from the Board of Directors of HistWick Inc.

The Town Council is planning a public hearing for December 16 before making a decision on bringing sewers to Wickford that could have a significant financial impact on many of our members. HistWick is providing this information as a service to our members.

There are 5 Alternatives under consideration, Alternative E encompasses pretty much all of Wickford Village.

Potential costs to each single-home property depend on the alternative selected and range from:

  • $32,949 – $67,738 assessment or annual loan payments of $2,193 – $4,508
  • Plus $2,000 – $5,000 for homeowner equipment & construction costs
  • Every abutting property owner subject to assessment regardless of the condition of their existing system (even if they have recently installed a new system)
  • Commercial properties could be several times higher based on usage
  • For more detail on the alternatives and a map of the areas potentially impacted contact us and we will send the information to you.

What can you do if you wish to be heard or have questions?

  • Write to your Town Council Members. If you go to the town website there is a button you can click on to email the entire town council.
  • Attend the public hearing which has tentatively been scheduled for December 16th. Check the town website for confirmation of the meeting time and place.

HistWick would like to know if you support spending between $32,949 and $67,738 plus connection costs to bring sewers to your property.  Please email us at histwick1@verizon.net or call Larry Ehrhardt at 295-4352.





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