Say no on Cumberland Farms: A letter to city officials
To the Editor:
My name is Mia Ramirez. I own and live in one of the 40 homes that will be impacted by the Cumberland Farms if approved, as I live on Henry Street in Cranston.
I have lived in Rhode Island most of my life and moved to Edgewood about four years ago with my husband. We decided to live in Edgewood for a couple of reasons: 1. My husband grew up there and loved it. 2. We were starting our family and wanted our children to have the same great childhood he had growing up in the neighborhood. 3. To be close to family. We were very excited to find our house on Henry Street, because it’s a street with families like ours with young children, which was great.
At the end of our third year living here I was diagnosed with cancer, and as you can imagine this was devastating news for our family. No one ever expects to hear this, especially when you have no family history of cancer. The past year has been extremely difficult physically, emotionally and financially. I have only just finished my treatment for cancer to find out one of the medications has caused damage to my heart function. Due to this I haven’t been to all the hearings or able to be as vocal as some of my neighbors.
That being said, I’m sure you can imagine my concerns with the possibility of having this gas station built so close to my home. I know you are aware of the increased risks of exposure to benzene, a known carcinogen. Dealing with cancer as an adult is one of the most difficult things I have dealt with. I cannot even imagine my 3-year-old or any of the other children on this street having to go through this.
That is my main concern, but now I am also concerned about our investment and the future of our home. It has been made clear that my home will be ineligible for certain insurance, including first time homebuyer loans, which will make it nearly impossible to sell my house. This proposal, while also increasing my risk, my family’s risk, as well as neighbors and their family’s risk of getting cancer, also negatively impacts my home’s value directly.
Which leads me to ask the City Council and the mayor: Why has this landlord, who owns the properties in question, been allowed to let his property become such an eyesore with no repercussions? Why do we have to pay the price for his negligence and in turn the City of Cranston for not penalizing him the way someone else would be? Why has this property owner been allowed to let this property become this way for more than eight years? I don’t understand why if this project was not okay two years ago but now because of one more or one less curb cut it needs to be revisited?
I can only ask that you please listen to the constituents of Edgewood, put yourself in the shoes of all the people that will be negatively affected by this and vote no on this project once more. Please keep in mind the effect of your vote and how much it will affect me personally, my family, my neighbors, their families and Edgewood as a whole.
A response from Mayor Fung would be appreciated since he has yet to reply to any of his constituents that have expressed concern over this issue. We are also still waiting to hear from Councilman Paplauskas, Councilman Colford, Councilman Hopkins, Councilman Farina and Councilman Favicchio.
Thank you for taking the time to read my letter.