This letter is in response to a recent letter written by Charlestown Parks & Recreation Chairman Faith LaBossiere (“A losing venture for Charlestown businesses,” Feb. 13).
The proposed food truck event would be an opportunity for the community to come together, enjoy some music and spend time with friends and family at no additional cost to the town.
Currently the Parks & Recreation Department hosts free music and movie nights at Ninigret Park. On average, these events draw 50-100 attendees. The town (the taxpayers) currently pays for these concerts and movies. Sometimes, local businesses and the Chamber of Commerce co-sponsor the concerts.
Adding the food truck component will bring more people to the park to enjoy the music and movies that are already offered, and few attend.
The town of Richmond hosted food truck nights with PVD Food Truck Events in the past with great success.
The proposed Charlestown plan is for six food truck events: three on Thursday nights, May 5, June 2, and July 7 (from 5 to 8 p.m.) and three on Sundays, Aug. 14 (5 to 8 p.m.), Sept. 11 (4 to 7 p.m.) and Oct. 15 (3 to 6 p.m.).
That’s six days total, for three hours each day. Based on the turnout in Richmond, approximately 500-700 people will attend over the course of the three hours. This is not a “large event.” This is an enhancement to the music and movie nights Charlestown currently sponsors.
The recent town-wide survey categorized “large events” as events similar in size to the Seafood Festival and Rhythm & Roots. Both of those events last three days and have over 10,000 attendees a day.
The food truck events run in single-day increments, once a month for three hours. This is not comparable to the Seafood Festival. Contrary to Ms. LaBossiere’s assertion, the townwide survey did not say people do not want events with 500-700 attendees in Ninigret Park.
Ms. LaBossiere fails to note the proposal states local food trucks and businesses can participate if they have the required licenses and follow event guidelines. Some local restaurant owners have stated they would not participate because they don’t have the staff to cover such an event. Others have expressed an interest in participating.
Additional costs associated with these events will be covered by the Chamber of Commerce and PVD Food Truck Events. These costs include a police detail, rubbish removal and portable toilets. There is no additional cost to Charlestown. We currently pay for the music and movies. It would be great if more than 50 people showed up to enjoy the music performances.
Ms. LaBossiere failed to mention she was the only member of the Parks & Recreation Commission that was opposed to the idea of this event.
Also contrary to what Ms. LaBossiere stated, there will be no encroachment on the Fish & Wildlife side of the park, nor will the migrating birds be impacted by food trucks at Ninigret Park for the three hours.
This is not a crass commercialization of Ninigret Park. This is an effort to have some fun in the park. The park is for people to enjoy. I think it would be wonderful for families to come together, have dinner and dessert, enjoy the music and hang out with friends and neighbors.
This item will be discussed at the Monday, Feb. 28, Town Council meeting at 7 p.m. Please come to the meeting and voice your opinion.
Deborah Carney, Charlestown
The writer is president of the Charlestown Town Council.
This article was published as a Letter to The Editor in The Westerly Sun on February 20, 2022.