A week after a Superior Court judge ruled in her favor on a bid to petition to stop the sale of the Belmont building, former Town Council President Susan Buonanno announced this week that she is running to return to a seat on the Narragansett Town Council.
Buonanno announced online that she “came out of retirement” to run for a council seat. She hasn’t been out of the public eye much since her departure from the council in 2018.
Buonanno has been a central figure in efforts to move the town’s library to the Belmont building, the proposed home of a new library. A majority of the current Town Council has blocked efforts to do so, and also voted to sell the building.
Last week, Rhode Island Superior Court Judge Jeffrey A. Lanphear ruled in Buonanno’s favor in her effort to collect signatures in order to place a petition on the November ballot that, if passed, would block a sale of the Belmont building.
Voters in 2016 approved bond funding for the library project and in 2018 the town bought the building. But the current council voted early last year to sell it instead.
A potential sale to a Connecticut developer last year fell through, and the fate of the building has been frozen while court action continues.
Buonanno last was on the council in 2018, as president, when she decided not to seek re-election. It was in March of 2018 that the council voted 3-2 to approve a $2.8 million purchase-and-sales agreement for the former Belmont Market in Pier Marketplace, 59 parking spaces and the space operating as Pier Liquors.
Voting against it at the time were councilors Matthew Mannix and Jill Lawler. Mannix is now council president and Lawler is President Pro Tem.
In September 2019, Buonanno, Winters B. Hames III, Laurie Kelly, Love your Library and The Friends of the Library sued the town to prevent the sale of the new library location. That lawsuit is still pending in Superior Court.
Town Council and School Committee seats in Narragansett are nonpartisan.
According to the Secretary of State’s Office, as of Wednesday morning the following candidates had filed papers for the local election to Town Council: Incumbents Jesse Pugh, Jill A. Lawler and Richard M. Lema, Democratic Town Committee Chairperson Winters B. Hames III, who previously said he intended to run, Deborah A. Kopech, Jason S. Colonies, Joseph Robenhymer, Michael J. Millen Jr. and Steven B. Belaus. Not on the council candidate list Wednesday morning were incumbent Patrick Murray and Council President Matthew Mannix.
School Committee candidates are Diane S. Nobles, Justin Wolf Skenyon and Tammy J. McNeiece.