March 24, 2018

Rhode Island, Massachusetts maps park on Blackstone River

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) – Officials from Massachusetts and Rhode Island are figuring out the boundaries of a park along the Blackstone River.

The Providence Journal reports (http://bit.ly/1gE23RO ) that officials met Monday in Pawtucket near Old Slater Mill, which is considered the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution in America and will be a key piece of the Blackstone River National Historical Park.

President Barack Obama recently bsigned legislation establishing Rhode Island’s first national historical park.

It will include the Museum of Work and Culture in Woonsocket and three other sites in Rhode Island and three in Massachusetts. It’s in the John H. Chafee Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor from Worcester to Providence.

It’s part of an effort to better protect the cultural sites along the river.

Information from: The Providence Journal, http://www.providencejournal.com

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Rhode Island, Massachusetts maps park on Blackstone River

Sen. Reed’s bill brings National Historical Park to state

The Blackstone River Valley — a national heritage corridor for 28 years — has been designated a national historical park after President Obama signed Sen. Jack Reed’s, D-R.I., bill proposing the change in December.

No specific sites have been designated for the park, but the committee has pointed to “nodes along that route” that they hope to include, such as Slater Mill, Hopedale and others, said Charlene Perkins Cutler, executive director of the Blackstone River Valley Committee.

The National Park Service “wants to use the existing infrastructure that the national heritage corridor has put together to capture visitors and tell them something about the valley,” Cutler said. This will likely include the Pawtucket Visitor Center across from Slater Mill in Pawtucket, the Museum of Work and Culture in Woonsocket, River Bend Farm in Uxbridge, Massachusetts, and a new visitor center in Worcester, Massachusetts, that is under construction.

Though national heritage corridors are eligible for federal grants, they differ from national parks in that they are not federally owned or managed but rather are maintained by state and local governments. The legislation passed last month was the product of more than 10 years of hard work, Cutler said, adding that the committee “wanted to get parts of the national heritage corridor included as part of the National Park Service.” The new park will partner with the existing corridor to “tell the birth of American industrialization,” she added.

Reed first introduced a bill in 2005 authorizing the National Park Service to conduct a Special Resource Study to determine whether parts of the corridor were eligible to become part of the national park system, said Chip Unruh, Reed’s spokesperson.

The area became eligible for national historical park designation in 2008, and the process of achieving formal recognition was expedited when Reed became chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies in 2011.

There were several obstacles along the way, including a series of moratoriums on public land bills, Unruh said. In 2011, federal support for the corridor was set to end, but Reed was able to extend it for an additional year with a continuing resolution. He brought several U.S. Secretaries of the Interior to the Ocean State to see the corridor and to convince them that it should be a national park.

An agreement was finally reached in 2014 as part of the National Defense Authorization Act, and Reed’s bill was passed into law.
Though the bill passed, Unruh and Cutler both said much work remains. It will be a long process that will “take some time and is going to require extreme patience,” Cutler said.

“Getting the bill signed into law is a significant milestone in the process, but there is still more work to do,” Unruh said.

The National Park Service is now responsible for devising a management plan over the next three years in order to determine “the scope of its boundaries with the input of the states, local communities and interested stakeholders,” Unruh added.

Public input in deciding the locales of the park was emphasized, Unruh said, adding that Reed “wants to continue to work collaboratively and ensure public input every step of the way as we get this park up and running.”

The corridor currently includes 24 towns — 13 in Massachusetts and 11 in Rhode Island — as well as a canal that runs from Worcester to Providence. This park will be nothing like Yellowstone or Yosemite with thousands of acres of open green space, Unruh said, adding “it’s not like we can take the entire corridor and turn it into the park.”

Current discussion of the park suggests that it will not be contiguous and will include multiple sites within Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Final site selection will be made by the Secretary of the Interior after soliciting public input. The management plan will have to state which publicly and privately owned land will become a part of the park, and the bill authorizes the Secretary to “establish agreements with the states or local governments, and to identify willing sellers of land and donators of land to include within the park boundary before and after the administrative park boundary is determined by the Secretary,” Unruh said.

Unruh estimates that over $20 million in federal appropriations will be necessary to get the park running, including $5 million for the National Park Service to acquire property interests, $6 million for the constructions of facilities and for the conduction of research and around $3 million for operating costs.

Reed hopes that the establishment of the park will enhance local tourism, create jobs and recreational activities and educate the public about Rhode Island’s rich industrial revolution history, Unruh said.

Though smaller in size than other national parks in the country, Cutler said she is confident it will draw crowds.


Sen. Reed’s bill brings National Historical Park to state

Cicilline invites president of Blackstone Valley Tourism Council, as State of Union guest

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — U.S. Rep. David N. Cicilline has invited Robert Billington, president of the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council, to be his guest for President Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday.

“After advocating for decades to establish a national park in Rhode Island, Bob’s hard work paid off when Congress approved a bill last month to establish a national park in the Blackstone River Valley,” Cicilline said in a news release. “Without Bob and the many dedicated and passionate individuals and organizations he represents, there is no doubt in my mind that we would not have been able to create a new national park in Rhode Island. ”

Billington said he was grateful for the opportunity “to represent  the hundreds of people of the Blackstone Valley that worked so hard over the years to make the Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park a reality.

President Obama signed legislation in to law on Dec. 19 to establish the park.

Cicilline is the last of the all-Democratic, four-member Rhode Island Congressional delegation to announce his State of the Union Guest.

Sen. Jack Reed’s guest will be Neil Steinberg, president and CEO of the Rhode Island Foundation.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse invited former lieutenant governor Elizabeth Roberts, now secretary of the state Executive Office of Health and Human Services.

U.S. Rep. James Langevin’s guest will be Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza.

See original article here – 

Cicilline invites president of Blackstone Valley Tourism Council, as State of Union guest

Nonprofit given $1M in historic tax credits to redevelop Island Machine mill

December 8, 2014

WOONSOCKET – The state Division of Taxation has awarded a nonprofit development agency more than $1 million worth of historic tax credits as part of a proposed $6.2 million makeover of the onetime Island Machine Company at 15 Island Place.

Joseph Garlick, executive director of NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley, says the 50,000-square-foot, three-story rubblestone mill will be converted into a half-dozen “live-work spaces” for artists on the upper stories, with office space on the ground floor.

The project is the first in the city to win historic tax credits under a 2013 act of the state legislature that resurrected the program after a lengthy hiatus. The Division of Taxation awarded packages of up to $5 million worth of tax credits by lottery during an initial round of disbursements after the program was rekindled. Garlick said NeighborWorks was not among the initial 30 lottery winners, but not all of those chosen were able to meet the eligibility criteria.

Full story appears on page A1 of Tuesday’s Call.


Nonprofit given $1M in historic tax credits to redevelop Island Machine mill

Congress mulls Blackstone historical park plan – News, Weather and Classifieds for Southern New England

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) – A plan to establish a national historical park in the Blackstone Valley is going before Congress.

U.S. Sen. Jack Reed has been pushing the plan for a Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park for years. The Rhode Island Democrat’s office said Wednesday the plan was due for votes in the House and Senate by next week as part of the National Defense Authorization Act.

The plan would put a new national historical park along the river, which includes several old mill towns and buildings including the Old Slater Mill in Pawtucket, the first successful cotton-spinning factory in the United States.

The area is already home to the John H. Chafee Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor, which links 24 communities along the Blackstone River from Worcester, Massachusetts, to Providence.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Congress mulls Blackstone historical park plan – News, Weather and Classifieds for Southern New England

Your Town, Your Life: Lincoln

By: Alexandra Cowley


In this weeks Your Town, Your Life we take you to Lincoln, Rhode Island. A town in Northern Rhode Island named in honor of Abraham Lincoln. It consists of seven villages: Manville, Albion, Lime rock, Lonsdale, Fairlawn, Quinnville, and Saylesville.

Lincoln was settled in the 17th century. Back then, the types of homes built were called Stone-Enders. Where one end of the home is a huge stone chimney wall. The Arnold House in Lincoln is a unique surviving example of this type of construction. It was built by Eleazer Arnold in 1693. The house has gone through some updates and changes throughout the centuries to keep it standing. It’s open for tours on the Weekends year round from 11 A.M. to 4 P.M.

Lincoln was also a big mill town in the 19th century. There were many that ran along the Blackstone River. Some of the old mill buildings have been converted into apartments. However, there is one that remains empty with most of its tools still in tact. The Moffett Mill was built in 1812 and was donated to the town of Lincoln in 1980’s. It made parts for ships, machines for textiles, wagons and carriages. The stone dam that was built in 1850 still exists.

In the town of Lincoln, in the village of Lime Rock, is home to some very rare plants. That’s because of the lime in the soil which makes it sweet. We took a walk through the Nature Preserve which hosts these unique plants, the only place to do so in R hode Island

Kathy Barton knows everything there is to know about plant life. For 35 years, Barton gave tours to those interested in Rhode Island’s native plants. She says the Lime Rock Preserve is special in that it hosts plant life that needs the lime to survive.

“Cumberland, Lincoln has an even more special habitat because of the lime deposits,” said Barton.

The trail we walked used to be a commuter railroad and Limestone quarry. It is now owned and preserved by the Nature Conservancy. Had it not been taken over and preserved, Barton says all this could have been bulldozed for condos.

A few of the unique plants to the area of Lime Rock is the Walking Fern and the Hepatica Plant. Barton takes pride in preserving this natural habitat and the plants that call it home.

“All the big places have been saved. We have Yosemite, we have the Grand Canyon, and what’s left are little local gems like this. Maybe not real super big, but they’re worth saving because of what’s in them,” explained Barton.

Someone who understands that is Lincoln resident Deborah Krieger. She lives nearby and wrote into ABC 6 about the Lime Rock area.

“We raised two sons here and one of them I know this was a huge influence on him and he went to study environmental science. So I feel like we have a nice little gem here in Rhode Island and in Lincoln,” Krieger said.

The Blackstone River State Park offers a ten mile trail that winds through Central Falls, Lincoln, and Cumberland. People walk, run, and bike the length. Enjoying the views of the rushing waters through the Blackstone River.

If you want somewhere you can dive into the water, then the Lincoln Woods State Park is perfect. The park has a public beach open for swimming, canoeing, and even fishing in some areas. There is also a trail that winds around the water with breathtaking views. Campsites are available at the park, but only for the day.

A little romantic history still lives on in the town of L incoln at The Hearthside House. It was built by Stephen H opkins Smith in 1810. Legend has it that Smith built the home with winnings from the L ouisiana State Lottery to woo a wealthy woman from Providence. However, when he took her to see it she said who would want to live in the wilderness. Smith’s heart was broken and he never married. Hearthside now belongs to the town and hosts many events.

We want to know what’s unique about where you live. Click on the Your Town tab and fill us in.

(C) WLNE-TV 2014


Your Town, Your Life: Lincoln