I would like to extend an invitation to all residents to take a drive to Galilee. The recent developments and soon to be new ones are important to our growing economy. Galilee has a unique character that has sat on the cusp of great village life for decades, if only just the right business or combination of events might make Galilee a destination, much like the Pier. It was exactly that which brought my family to the area in the 1940s with the Great Tuna Tournaments. Those days are gone, and now it is the gateway to Block Island, but could be so much more.
I believe that there needs to be a balance of what is going to go where the Dutch Inn once stood. I remember as a child swimming in the pool with my grandmother and her friends, the parrots, and the feeling I was in a tropical oasis. The time is now to recreate that environment for a new generation to make memories.
In October of this past year $5.2 million in grants to repair and upgrade the bulkhead area of Galilee and other projects was announced. This will offer great visual as well as structural improvements. To the average resident and tourist, however, the Great Island Road is the prototype of what Galilee means to them. Therefore, this property is essential in creating that image. Recently the Town Council held a workshop in which DEM, a representative from Procaccianti Companies and the Council discussed the current plans. These plans were an abomination to the image of Galilee. They proposed a strip mall type structure with four retail shops and a parking lot. During public comment no one supported the Procaccianti proposal, and the Council members had concerns. The time is now to speak up for what Galilee could be and should be. We cannot feel the regret in 20 years when we end up with a disappointment similar to the fiasco from Gilbane and the Pier. Galilee can be the next great village much like Mystic. Please support a comprehensive development plan that give us a mid-size boutique hotel, additional retail, and restaurant and most importantly, some open public space. Even with all those included, there will be plenty of parking.