A Hummel Report Investigation
Providence is a city surrounded - and divided by - water. But if you actually want to get to the water, for boating or fishing or kayaking - or maybe to take a long walk, there is only a handful of places to go. A coalition of groups, in cooperation with the state agency that regulates Rhode Island’s waters, is trying to change that.
To see more of the Seekonk Riverbank Revitalization Alliance's vision click here.
Providence is a city surrounded - and divided by - water.
But if you actually want to get to the water, for boating or fishing or kayaking - or maybe to take a long walk, there are only a handful of places to go. You have the popular India Point Park along Route 195, and the lesser known Collier Point Park along the western side of the upper Providence River.
Beyond that, it’s slim pickin’s.
Richards: ``That’s because it was commercial waterfront, and not residential waterfront.’’
Rick Richards heads up the Seekonk Riverbank Revitalization Alliance, which includes several groups looking to improve public access along this hidden jewel just north of the Henderson Bridge.
Richards: ``We run events and people come and we ask: `Have you ever been here before?’ And usually at least half the people say no I’ve never heard of this.’’
Several years ago, River Road, which runs along the banks of the Seekonk River and is home to the Narragansett Boat Club was shut down while work was being done on nearby York Pond.
Richards: ``People started using the road, families would come down and use it to teach little kids to bicycle and bird watchers would be all over the place. So it created an entirely different environment. It was a park.’’
That experience has evolved into a years-in-the-making proposal for a recreation area with improved access to the water, but also a larger vision for other waterfront areas in the city.
Cute: ``They had a lot of enthusiasm but not a lot of insight as to what you could do there, regarding habitat restoration, public access.’’
Enter Kevin Cute, a marine resources specialist for the state’s Coastal Resources Management Council, which controls everything that goes on with 200 feet of Rhode Island’s waters. Richards’ group knew it would need to bring CRMC on board if it wanted to make any changes. And while the agency has been working with the neighborhood group, it’s also been working with Providence officials to develop the city’s first Harbor Management Plan.
And that plan calls for both permanent and transient boat moorings in several places: including India Point Park and in the upper part of the Providence River itself near the Manchester Street Power Station. If approved, there will also be moorings near the Gano Street Boat Launch, one of three CRMC public access points in the city. The boat launch was installed just last summer and is a key entry point to the Seekonk River from the East Side.