PROVIDENCE, RI – In an effort to strengthen local conservation and recreation efforts, Rhode Island’s Congressional delegation today announced that Providence’s riverfront is getting a $375,000 infusion of federal funding for a series of long-planned improvements for Phase II of the Woonasquatucket Adventure Park.
Located along the Woonasquatucket River Greenway, the Woonasquatucket Adventure Park, which officially opened to the public this fall, includes picnic areas, a bicycle pump track, a parkour course, and multi-use trails that connect to Merino Park. In addition to recreational amenities, the Woonasquatucket River Adventure Park is a “climate-smart” park that includes rain gardens to help clean stormwater and reduce flooding.
The new federal funding comes from a federal Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership (ORLP) grant. ORLP is part of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), a federal fund dedicated to land conservation and supporting outdoor recreation, and is administered by the U.S. National Park Service. This federal funding is vital to the completion of Woonasquatucket Adventure Park, enabling new development by removing blighted post-industrial infrastructure and replacing it with safe, fun, and inviting park amenities. Phase II will redevelop a five acre city-owned site, which contains a combination of a vacant lot, an abandoned loading dock, an old access road, steep hillside, meadow, and emergent wetlands. When complete, Phase II of the project will expand the adventure park’s footprint and make it safer and more accessible with the addition of a new trailhead and access and entrance points; gathering places; a safe parking area; and gates, public art, and storage for bikes.
“It is important to have green space for our cities and ensure every child, no matter where they live, has the opportunity to get outside and play. These federal funds will help the City of Providence revitalize this parcel of land and improve access to outdoor recreation for more children and families,” said Senator Reed.
“The Woonasquatucket River Greenway has come a long way in recent years, and this federal funding will enable the next phase of its transformation,” said Senator Whitehouse. “The park’s expanded footprint and new amenities will give neighborhood kids more open green space to enjoy.”
“Great cities offer vibrant and welcoming urban green spaces where families can gather, explore nature, and enjoy themselves,” said Congressman Jim Langevin. “In the City of Providence, the development of the Woonasquatucket Adventure Park has infused new life and excitement into an area that was once blighted and contaminated. With these federal funds, the capital city will further enhance its riverfront and offer a unique destination that will attract residents and visitors alike.”
“Revitalization projects across Rhode Island have made tremendous progress in rehabilitating old brownfield sites like the one at Woonasquatucket Adventure Park,” said Congressman David N. Cicilline. “This federal investment will help the City of Providence complete a brand new recreational park for residents of all ages to enjoy. I look forward continuing my support of the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership program that made this award possible.”
Congress created the ORLP program in 2014 to promote partnerships for outdoor recreation in urban communities across the United States.
A former brownfield site, this 9.25-acre parcel of land has been transformed from an old blighted mill that housed the Lincoln Lace & Braid Company and a dump site, into a park that connects thousands of Providence residents to outdoor recreation opportunities.
In addition to the federal funds, financing and support for the improvements have come from the City of Providence, the Woonsquatucket River Watershed Council, the Trust for Public Land, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM), the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT), The Nature Conservancy, and Hydro Flask.