The Block Island Times

Old Harbor Task Force chisels out plaque honoring Mary D

By Gloria S. Redlich | Jan 14, 2014

As part of its plan to recognize the long service of Nurse Mary Donnelly to the Block Island community, members of the Old Harbor Task Force (OHTF) met on Jan. 7 to fashion the text of a granite marker to be located at Mary D Park, which the town is in the process of creating.

Wishing to underscore Donnelly’s tireless devotion to the town over a period of 55 years, the tribute will address her “courage, love and kindness” in ministering to those who have come to her attention as having many levels of need.

The group also made plans for a profile of Mary Donnelly in her nurse’s cap — etched in relief on a bronze plaque — to be affixed to the granite monument.

The park was created by the Town Council last year and has recently received approval from the Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) for the installation of a four-foot-wide staircase on property adjoining the Surf Hotel. This stairway would provide direct access from Water Street to Dinghy Beach. Other plans initiated by the OHTF are to install three benches and pavers.

OHTF Chair Margie Comings estimated the cost of the park to run around $20,000, with the group hoping to receive funds of $17,000 from grants recently applied for. The task force is anticipating that grants should take care of 90 percent of costs, with 10 percent left for the OHTF to raise. Comings said the group should hear about the grants by March.

After some discussion, the group decided to wait for the park and the granite marker to be completed so they might be dedicated together. Comings also spoke about an adjacent property, a slope which needs cleaning up and restoring, but she indicated it was not clear whose responsibility that would be.

On another matter, Arlene Tunney reported she had been looking into the process for establishing a 501(c)3, under which an organization can function with a tax-exempt, non-profit status. Because the process might take as long as two years, the group discussed the possibility of temporarily sheltering under other non-profits. To that end, they decided to look about for some umbrella groups.

Tunney had also been in touch with several bike rack companies and had received several brochures, which she distributed to members for their review. Kathy Szabo suggested contacting businesses which that be interested in making donations to help defray the costs of bike racks to be placed in select locations in Old Harbor. Agreeing to think about potential sites and how to raise funds, the group continued the discussion to the next meeting, which is to be scheduled sometime at the end of March.

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