New Warren Council Members Ready to Work
Davison Bolster and Scott Lial ready to tackle multiple issues.
Warren's newest Town Council members, both long time residents, are energized and ready to get to work.
Davison Bolster moved to Warren from Barrington in 1975 where he "felt like he fit in from the day he arrived." As an active member of the community, Bolster says he helped conceive and implement the Warren Bike Path, the holiday tree lighting ceremony and the kiosk on the East Bay Bike Path, in addition to helping found the Historic Merchants Association, the Citizens Advisory Committee, and the Waterfront Committee. He is also involved with the Historic Preservation Society and owns a seasonal art gallery.
Scott Lial was born and raised in Warren. His grandparents moved here at the turn of the 20th century from New Bedford, and raised eight children, including Lial's father. According to Lial, they struggled to make ends meet, but managed to make it work. Lial has three children of his own now and feels strongly about his history and roots. He wants to make sure Warren stays "a family-friendly place that nurtures young people." Additionally, Lial served on the Warren Zoning Board for three years, yet he's unsure how much of that experience will come into play as a council member.
"On the zoning board things are black and white," he said. "You're dealing with ordinances. With the Town Council things are more based on opinion. It's more abstract."
Nonetheless, he and Bolster are ready to tackle a variety of complex issues.
Bolster wasted no time adding pedestrian safety to the agenda of his first town council meeting, citing it as one of the biggest concerns on residents' minds when he went door-to-door campaigning. The council voted unanimously to move forward with a town-wide pedestrian safety plan that takes into consideration crosswalks, the timing and location of stoplights and stop signs, and speed limits.
The Tourister Mill building is an ongoing concern to both council members. Lial calls it "the gateway to Warren" and hopes the project can be "done right and with a lot of research and knowledgeable minds at hand." Bolster, who also added the Tourister project to the agenda of his first council meeting, hopes they can "establish communication with the owners of Tourister Mill and offer the town's assistance in marketing the property to potential businesses."
Lial, however, expressed concern about the state of the economy and the ability to draw businesses to the project. Regardless, he hopes manufacturers in particular will consider the space, calling it a "reflection of Warren's past."
"No matter what else is going on, the council should be thinking, planning, and working toward something with Tourister at all times," Lial said. "It should be at the forefront of issues."
Conscientious development is a key issue for Lial. In particular, he hopes Child Street can continue to develop in a way that serves both businesses and residents. He also believes Metacom Avenue can be improved by looking at how Barrington's business center on Route 114 is organized with strategically placed egresses to shopping plazas and a center lane for turning traffic.
With Warren hosting one of the oldest working waterfronts in New England, both Bolster and Lial feel strongly about returning it to an economically vital place for maritime businesses.
"The waterfront has it's own history," said Lial. "The way we approach it is crucially important because we have only one whack at the piñata. We don't want to be obstructionists. We want to be open-minded."
Each of them also recognized artists and the tax-free arts incentive as an important part of Warren's economy.
"Go over to Cutler Mills," Bolster said, "and you'll see woodworkers, jewelers, ceramicists. They are all manufacturing. They're employing people and bringing business to town."
Finally, Bolster wants to make sure Warren's Comprehensive Plan, which is currently being rewritten, is put into action. He says the town has paid a lot of money over the years for multiple studies, yet done little to implement the recommendations in those studies.
"If we did twenty percent of what's in those plans the town would be improved," Bolster said. "It's time to stop studying it and planning it and just do it."