The Town of East Greenwich has moved one step closer to opening up the McHale property — just south of the high school — to recreation. The state recently announced it was awarding a $200,000 grant to be used to build a road into the property.
That money will be added to the approximately $900,000 still available from the fields project. Initially, the plan had been to add as many as six ball fields on McHale. Not only did the money for the project not extend that far, but there was also a question of access. The only way in and out of the property was from Avenger Drive.
Now, the thought is to build an access road into the property by extending the road into McHale that now dead ends just past the JV baseball field, and to build trails that could be used for walking or running.
Joe Duarte and Cathy Bradley, Public Works and Parks & Rec directors respectively, will work together on the project. The first step will be to hire someone to draw up plans and help with Department of Environmental Management wetlands permitting. The road will need to bridge at least one stream.
According to Duarte, getting a permit from DEM could take a year.
The plan is to construct one to two miles of trails. Cross country coach Peter Dion and some of his runners helped make the appeal to the Town Council last fall to approve the grant application. EGHS has used Goddard Park for many meets, but the addition of running trails at McHale could provide a home venue for meets.