February 24, 2020

RI, Mass. map Blackstone River heritage park

PROVIDENCE — 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 signed 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


RI, Mass. map Blackstone River heritage park

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

Historical park established in Blackstone Valley

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The Blackstone River Valley is the newest national historical park.

U.S. Sen. Jack Reed has been pushing a plan for a Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park for years. The president signed the Rhode Island Democrat’s legislation establishing the park Friday.

The park is along the Blackstone River and includes significant sites in old mill towns and buildings. The Old Slater Mill in Pawtucket, Rhode Island is the first successful cotton-spinning factory in the United States. Sites in North Smithfield and Cumberland, Rhode Island, and Whitinsville and Hopedale, Massachusetts, are also included.

Reed says the Blackstone Valley is a national treasure that is getting the recognition it deserves.

The area is already home to a national heritage corridor that links communities along the Blackstone River from Worcester, Massachusetts, to Providence.

Visit source – 

Historical park established in Blackstone Valley

Congress approves Blackstone historical park plan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Congress has approved plans for a new national park in parts of Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

The U.S. Senate on Friday approved the plan for the Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park as part of a massive defense policy bill that was sent to President Barack Obama.

U.S. Sen. Jack Reed had pushed the park plan for years. The Rhode Island Democrat says the park will include areas in Rhode Island including the Blackstone River and Old Slater Mill in Pawtucket, and nearby sites in North Smithfield and Cumberland. It also will include areas in Northbridge and Hopedale in Massachusetts.

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.

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Congress approves Blackstone historical park plan

6 affordable housing developments to share $2M

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) – Six groups that are developing nearly 150 affordable dwellings across Rhode Island are sharing over $2 million in federal funds for the projects.

Rhode Island Housing announced Tuesday the recipients of the second round of this year’s HOME funds. They include Church Community Housing Corp.; Habitat for Humanity South County; Neighborworks Blackstone River Valley Fernwood; Omni Development Corp.; Sankofa Apartments; and Washington County Community Development Corp.

The board approved the funds last month. It will help develop 145 homes and apartments in Burrillville, Exeter, Providence, North Kingstown and Tiverton.

The federal HOME program is the largest block grant to state and local governments to support housing for low- and moderate-income families. The money can be used to acquire property, rehabilitate existing properties or build new homes.

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

Original article: 

6 affordable housing developments to share $2M

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

Paddlers prepared for 100-mile RI river tour

July 6, 2014

NORTH SMITHFIELD – The Paddle Across Rhode Island team escaped potential washout impacts from Hurricane Arthur’s close brush with the area and set out on their more that 100-mile journey from the town’s Meadows Recreation Complex on Sunday with perfect weather and perfect river conditions.

“It looks fantastic,” team leader Chuck Horbert, a R.I. Department of Environmental Management freshwater wetlands employee, said as he and three paddling friends got ready to set out on the Blackstone River at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday. The group expects to keep paddling and portaging across Rhode Island’s waterways for the next eight days on a journey that Horbert had envisioned completing last July.

Hurricane Andrea arrived in the area last year just in time to raise the flows of Rhode Island rivers to impassable levels, and Horbert’s start of the trip on the Branch River in Burrillville ended before the group got out of Northern Rhode Island.

Full story appears on page A1 of Monday’s Call and Monday’s Times.


Paddlers prepared for 100-mile RI river tour