190620ind BikePathfile

A jogger on the William C. O’Neill Bike Path approaches the crosswalk on Main Street in Wakefield in this file photo.

NARRAGANSETT, R.I. — The town of Narragansett is ready to select a construction firm to build the extension of the William C. O’Neill Bike Path, a project that’s been in the works for several years.

The Town Council voted unanimously Monday to award a bid for the project to Cardi Corporation, the lowest of five bidders, for $521,202.35.

“The bike path project’s been in the works for awhile. Dave and Rosemary Smith have been very very involved in this and we thank them for that,” Council President Matthew Mannix said.

The project includes all labor, materials, equipment and related services to construct what’s called Segment 4A of the William C. O’Neill Bike Path.

The route of the 1,750-foot path begins at the end of the existing path at Mumford Road, crosses Mumford Road and Riverside Drive, then follows the edge of the Narragansett Elementary School property and turns to follow the edge of the practice soccer field to end at the Narragansett Community Center parking lot.  

The finished 12-foot wide paved path will include storm water and water quality measures, as well as chain link fencing and associated landscaping.

The project is being funded from the Rhode Island Capital Fund Green Economy Bond Bikeway Development Program, which made $750,000 in grant reimbursement funds available for the project in 2017.

The path looked set for completion last year, after the town received a state water quality certificate and the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management’s permit to construct, with the design 90 percent complete. But town officials and National Grid then got into a back-and-forth discussion on use of a 600-foot easement granted to National Grid in 1958.

Work on the path began 20 years ago. Most of the path follows the former right-of-way of the Narragansett Pier Railroad, which dates back to 1876. In the 1960s, after railroad operations ceased, the late state Sen. William C. O’Neill advocated for the creation of a bike path to ensure a safer commute to school for students.

The state completed the first segment of the bike path in August 2000. The section spanned 4.1 miles from Kingston Station to Rodman Street in Peace Dale.

In library news, the council took no action on a motion that would have awarded $15,000 to Saccoccio & Associates Architects to perform architectural and engineering services work for a renovation of the Maury Loontjens Memorial Library.

The measure died when none of the members of the council made a motion to approve, reject or table it Monday.

“Is there a motion,” Mannix asked, met with silence. “Is there a motion?”

The council voted 3-2 in March to ask for bids on the work, suggested by Mannix as a more “modest” alternative to renovating the former Belmont market building.

Voters in 2016 authorized up to $5.8 million for a new library, and the town later purchased the Belmont building for the project. But Mannix and council members Jill Lawler and Richard Lema voted in January to sell the building instead, setting off protests from project supporters.  

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