Warwick, RI – The Warwick City Council passed a resolution asking the City’s representatives in the General Assembly to draft a law blocking buses bound for out-of-state casinos from using RI park and ride lots Monday night, with two Councilors dissenting.
Councilman Thomas Chadronet, who sponsored the resolution, said park and ride lots were built with the intent of aiding the commutes of people working out of state at Groton Navy base and Electric Boat.
“They were not built to provide parking for these out of state casinos,” said Chadronet. Therefore, he said, “We should protect our own casinos in the state.”
Councilman Joseph Solomon said older fpeople who don’t like to drive to out-of-state casinos themselves are getting a service by commercial use of the lots for busing to the facilities.
“If that facility’s not getting used anyway, it’s providing a service to our residents,” Solomon said. Also, he said, residents are patronizing coffee shops and markets on their way to the lots, he said.
“If we want to build a wall around the state of Rhode Island, and not let anyone in or out, then do that,” Solomon quipped. But interstate commerce, he argued, involves sending some business over state lines.
“Councilman Solomon, how tall is that wall that you were suggesting?” Councilman Edgar Ladouceur joked.
“You’ll have to ask The Donald,” Solomon said.
Councilman Steve Merolla said the intent of the park and ride lots was to take cars off the highways, and reduce traffic through carpooling.
“The less cars we can have on the roadway I think the better off we’ll be,” Merolla said.
He noted his daughter’s soccer team used a park and ride lot to meet her team’s bus for a game in Massachusetts.
“We can always put a toll up at the border of Connecticut and Rhode Island, and charge those buses that are going to the casino,” Solomon suggested.
“Madame Chair, I call for a vote,” Chadronet replied.
The resolution passed, with Solomon and Merolla voting against.
In other news, the Council also approved an amendment to City bylaws proposed by Councilwoman Camille Vella-Wilkinson allowing disabled veterans free access to McDermott Pool. To gain access, the disabled veteran would have show their medical card from the VA, but not disclose the nature of their disability, according the the amendment.
There are currently 12 disabled veterans using the pool regularly at the moment, using the discount under the previous bylaw, who were required to disclose the percentage of their disability as assessed by the VA, which had to be 70 percent, said Vella-Wilkinson.
“I am requesting that we, as a city, recognize the contributions of our veterans, recognize the sacrifices that were incurred by our disabled veterans and their families, and further recognize the value of having the aqua therapy provided to the veteran who lives in the city, ” Vella Wilkinson said.
Councilman Steve Merolla noted that if he were a veteran in need of physical therapy exercise, “There’s no better place to do that than in a pool.”
The entire Council added their names as co-sponsors, and the amendment passed unanimously.
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