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June 18, 2018

National park plans remain in infancy


February 16, 2015

After years of talk, planning and incremental phases of development, the historic Blackstone Valley appears headed toward national fame as a National Park, telling the story of the American Industrial Revolution and the immigration that helped fuel it.

But while President Barack Obama signed federal legislation creating the national heritage park, exactly what that higher designation will bring to the National Heritage Corridor, created by Congress in 1986, is still percolating and not ready to be poured into a final form.

“There is going to be a national park, but we don’t know yet what it will be. Its boundaries have yet to be established, and the National Park Service has to set up a management plan,” Charlene Cutler, executive director of the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor, said of the development work still pending for the new park.
The planning process of what the new park will offer and look like in the future is just getting started, Cutler noted, and there will be a series of meetings beginning in the near future to discuss those options.

“It is very important for everyone to stay involved and participate in the stakeholder meetings,” she said.

Full story appears on Page A1 of Tuesday’s Call and Tuesday’s Times.

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National park plans remain in infancy

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.

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Rhode Island, Massachusetts maps park on Blackstone River

Officials convene in Pawtucket to discuss R.I.’s first national historical park

PAWTUCKET — A month after President Obama signed legislation establishing Rhode Island’s first national historical park, officials held the first meeting on Monday to work out the boundaries of the park along the Blackstone River and develop a management plan.

The meeting was held in downtown Pawtucket, a stone’s throw from Old Slater Mill, which is regarded as the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution in America and will be a key piece of the Blackstone River National Historical Park. The park will also include the Museum of Work and Culture in Woonsocket, as well as three more Rhode Island sites and three sites in Massachusetts.

Officials from both states, as well city and town leaders and representatives of community groups, were at the meeting to start laying the groundwork for the national park, the 402nd in the United States.

“We want to make sure everyone has a voice — the mayors, the planners for all the communities,” said U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, the Rhode Island Democrat who wrote the act that created the new park.

He said the park will be an important cultural resource — and a tourist attraction.

“We can use the park to educate visitors about the history and culture of Rhode Island,” he said. “It’s another reason to come to Rhode Island.”

The park is located within the John H. Chafee Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor, which runs from Worcester to Providence and was established in 1986. The idea for the park was hatched in 2003 as part of an effort to better protect the cultural sites along the river, said Bob Billington, director of the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council.

“The history was always here, but we always wanted the opportunity to tell it on a national level,” he said.

Those many years of work on the proposal for the park have given stakeholders a head-start in the current effort to set it up, said U.S. Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I.

“Our park will begin with this very deep and very rich history of relationships,” he said.

Meghan Kish, the National Park Service superintendent who will oversee the park, said the priorities in the planning process include delineating the park’s boundaries and formulating an overall identity for its separate pieces that include sites in Slatersville and Ashton in Rhode Island and Whitinsville and Hopedale in Massachusetts.

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Officials convene in Pawtucket to discuss R.I.’s first national historical park

Obama signs bill for national park along the Blackstone River

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — President Obama signed legislation Friday establishing a national park at eight sites that dot the Blackstone River, according to an announcement by Sen. Jack Reed.

The Blackstone River Valley National Park will include the Old Slater Mill in Pawtucket, which is regarded as the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution in the United States, and the Museum of Work and Culture in Woonsocket, in addition to three more Rhode Island sites and three sites in Massachusetts.

In a news release, Reed said the Blackstone Valley “is finally getting the recognition it deserves.”

“This new park will help preserve the character and historical significance of the area and tell visitors about an important chapter in American history,” he said.

The park is located within the John H. Chafee Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor, which runs from Worcester to Providence and was established in 1986. The corridor along the 45-mile river is also getting renewed federal funding to the tune of $650,000 as part of the law championed by Reed and signed by the president.

Congress has not appropriated any money for the park itself. In fact, the government has yet to determine its specific boundaries. That will be done “with the input of the states, local communities, and interested stakeholders,” Reed’s news release said.

“This designation will help preserve key historical, cultural, and environmental resources for future generations,” the senator said. “It will help educate people about our past and contribute to our economic future by supporting tourism and recreational opportunities.”

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Obama signs bill for national park along the Blackstone River