In Barrington, Town Manager says new concert layout is a must

Hervey: ‘You can aim your chair whatever direction you want’

By Josh Bickford
Posted 12/6/23

The trees have been removed, but the cement pad is staying put.  

Town officials responded to some of the concerns residents shared about recent changes made to Latham Park.  

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In Barrington, Town Manager says new concert layout is a must

Hervey: ‘You can aim your chair whatever direction you want’

Posted

The trees have been removed, but the cement pad is staying put. 

Town officials responded to some of the concerns residents shared about recent changes made to Latham Park. 

Barrington Town Manager Phil Hervey said he received phone calls from people who were not happy with the decision to relocate the stage area — the park plays host to the summer concert series — closer to the playground equipment and farther away from the water.

That shift, coupled with the planting of six evergreen trees and installation of a cement pad, would likely result in concert-goers facing the Bay Springs neighborhood while they listen to bands, instead of facing Narragansett Bay. 

“The trees are out. That was in the works before the (Barrington Park and Recreation Commission) meeting,” Hervey said during an interview on Friday. “We were already in the process of switching it out.”

But the cement pad which will be used as the base for the concert stage is not moving, Hervey said. 

“The pad has got to be there because it can’t be near the water,” he said.

In the past, the concert stage was placed feet from the Latham Park shoreline. An electrical outlet had been installed close to the coastline to provide electricity for the bands. 

Hervey said the electrical line failed in its previous location. He said the length of the run, from the power lines at the street all the way to the shoreline, was part of the problem.

“It worked for a while, but it’s going to fail again,” Hervey said. “I’m not an electrician, but the length of the run was a problem. We upgraded the wire. The shorter run was absolutely critical. Stuff was getting into the electrical outlet. It was failing because of that too.”

Hervey said town officials replaced the evergreen trees with some beach grasses, similar to the ones already found at Latham Park. 

The Town Manager said people who are not happy with facing away from the water during the concerts can simply shift their chairs, so they can see the band off to one side and the water on the other. 

“You can always aim your chair whatever direction you want, right? Or we have no concerts there. That’s what we’re looking at,” Hervey said. “There’s no way we can keep replacing everything by the water. That wouldn’t make any sense.”

Late last month some residents attended the Barrington Park and Recreation Commission meeting and voiced their displeasure about the new set-up for the summer concerts.

“It was a beautiful spot,” Barrington resident Dean Brockway said during the meeting. “What you’ve done to it now is a slap to the (Bay Spring) community. The town has dumped on Bay Spring.

“Instead of fixing the problem, you’ve made it worse.”

Members of the Park and Recreation Commission said they would add the Latham Park issue to the agenda for their December meeting.

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