Public Meets to Plan New Park for Providence, RI

Providence, Rhode Island, 5/24/05: The Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national non-profit conservation organization, along with the City of Providence and the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council, are holding the second public meeting Wednesday evening for the master redevelopment plan for 67 Melissa Street and the adjacent site in the Hartford neighborhood formerly owned by Lincoln Lace and Braid.

The meeting will be held at 6:00 pm on May 25 at the Providence Housing Authority Residents Services Building, 50 Laurel Hill Avenue, across from the Perry Middle School. Refreshments will be served.

The focus of the meeting will be to discuss the activities that will be appealing to residents who will use the park. It will also be announced that the remedial action work plan (RAWP), a document required by the state to begin cleaning up the former landfill site, has been approved. Remediation can now go out to bid and begin this summer, and is expected to be completed by the fall. Participants will hear an update on environmental conditions and the construction timeline.

This meeting is part of a series that has been taking place since 2003 to update residents on the environmental conditions, landfill remediation, and now master planning for a new park.

The 67 Melissa Street property, which contains part of a former household solid waste landfill, is a critical link in the Woonasquatucket River Greenway, a proposed four-mile riverside recreational trail. The Trust for Public Land, a national nonprofit conservation organization that has been working since 1994 to help create the greenway, owns the property in Providence’s Hartford neighborhood.

Nancy Kafka, senior program manager in the Parks for People Program at TPL, will introduce the meeting and review prior public meetings and the ongoing work with residents and area non-profits to develop programs and activities at the new parks.

Providence Department of Public Parks Deputy Superintendent Robert McMahon will describe the City’s involvement and leadership in building the parks and planning for their future use.

Lisa Aurecchia of the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council will describe the coordination among area non-profits to develop programs to use the new parks. The Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council is a nonprofit organization working to restore and enhance the natural, recreational, and cultural resources of the watershed through locally-based initiatives, including the Woonasquatucket River Greenway Project.

Landscape architect Michael Weremay, of Beckman Weremay, Ltd., will share a revised schematic plan of the sites based on designs developed through prior public meetings. Tonight’s meeting will further update this plan based on the programs and activities that area youth development organizations run or would like to run and that residents want to participate in. The schematic currently includes basketball and picnic areas, as well as canoe launches and a bike trail along the river. Beckman Weremay, Ltd. designed the Marco Polo exhibit at the Roger Williams Park Zoo and recently completed a master plan for land use at the Ashton/Pratt Corridor, a two-mile stretch of the Blackstone River in Cumberland, RI that contained a Superfund site.

Environmental consultant for the project, Tim Regan of EA Engineering, will be on hand to explain the RAWP, describe the construction activities that will take place in the process of capping the landfill, and answer any other questions about environmental conditions at the site.

In the fall of 2003, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded TPL a grant of $200,000 to assist with capping the landfill. Additional support for site assessment, remediation, and master planning has come from the City of Providence, the Trust for Public Land, and the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management’s brownfields program.

The Providence Department of Planning and Development and the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management have been important partners in the effort to clean up the Melissa Street site. Their commitment to the Melissa Street and adjacent Lincoln Lace & Braid sites is just one example of the on-going efforts to create a Woonasquatucket River Greenway. The Trust for Public Land, in partnership with the Rhode Island Department of Transportation, the City of Providence Department of Public Parks, the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council, the Providence Plan, and other community-based organizations, have been working for nearly ten years on various phases of the Greenway. When completed, the Greenway will provide new opportunities for biking, walking, and enjoying views of the river from WaterPlace Park in downtown Providence through Manton, Hartford, and Olneyville to the western city limits.

The Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national nonprofit conservation organization conserving land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and natural areas, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Since its founding in 1972, TPL has helped protect more than 1.6 million acres of land in 46 states. TPL depends on the support and generosity of individuals, foundations, and businesses to achieve our land for people mission. For more information, please contact us at (617) 367-6200 or visit

Note to editors:

For a digital photograph of the meeting or the property or an electronic map, contact Daria Ovide at (617) 367-6200 x330.