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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

URI students to present design ideas for Exeter village development at public meeting May 10

Media Contact: Todd McLeish, 401-874-7892

Residents invited to provide comment

EXETER, R.I. -- May 4, 2004 -- Seven University of Rhode Island seniors studying landscape architecture will present their design ideas for establishing a rural village or mixed use development in Exeter during a public meeting on Monday, May 10 at 7 p.m. at the Exeter Grange. The presentation is open to the public.

Following a four-month process of meeting with town officials, hosting public workshops, and discussing ideas in class and with professionals, the students have developed two different plans for developing the area around the intersection of Route 2, Exeter Road and South Road in Exeter.

One design focuses on a theme of "healthy connections," including greenways, and bicycle and walking trails. The other design has a school, radiating greenways and gathering places as its centerpiece.

"When the students held a workshop with local residents in January, they came away with a clear message that the townspeople did not want major changes in the area," explained Will Green, the URI professor of landscape architecture who has guided the students through the process. "Those in attendance wanted the village character preserved, and while they said they did want some tax relief, they didnít want it at the expense of the protection of the land and water quality."

Green added that the students grappled with several complicated issues in their design plans, including questions about the future use for the former Ladd School, which is located nearby, and concerns with protecting farmland and the local aquifer.

The student project was launched after the town established a task force to investigate possible uses for town-owned land in the area. After the students present their design ideas and additional input is offered by residents and town officials, it will be up to the town to decide how to proceed.

"What often happens with these class design projects is that the students develop a vision and generate excitement about the project, and that galvanizes local residents and officials into pursuing funding to implement elements of the plan that are especially appealing to them," Green said.

For Further Information: Will Green (URI) 874-2142 or Jason Whitford (Exeter) 294-2622.