Seven years after initial plans were drafted to develop a park along the west waterfront of the Providence River, recent construction in the Jewelry District — including several University buildings — has altered those design plans. The new park will offer a grassy space with access to the river and outdoor programming that will strengthen connections between College Hill and downtown Providence.
The biggest change the commission made to the park plans was selecting a “parcel” from the initial allotment to offer for commercial development, [Bonnie] Nickerson [director of long-range planning for Providence] said.
[alert type=”muted”]See also: PBN: I-195 Commission approves plans for new park[/alert]
The commission hopes to see the park ready for construction by summer 2014 and open to the public within 18 months, in late 2015, Nickerson said.
I’m really annoyed. When did this happen? I try and keep up with agendas that you kindly repost and I never saw this issue come up. Unless I’m being stupid, I’m seriously considering filing an open meetings complaint. I want to be more actively engaged in this process and that doesn’t mean showing up to every commission meeting– I need to check the agenda. And when there’s nothing but executive session and discussing the ED search I’m not going to show up.
I don’t think it is as bad as you may imagine. The 6 acre park was going to be large and separated from the urban fabric by Eddy Street (and of course the river). Having development parcels on the same side of Eddy Street as the park means that there will be businesses opening up onto the park and potentially residents who now live adjacent to the park giving it life. The plan for that development as I understand it calls for it to have a passageway through it to Eddy Street. Also, Dorrance Street will serve as the main gateway to the park, extending site from Kennedy Plaza/City Hall down to and a across the river.
There is the potential problem that residents could prove to be NIMBYs so any residential development should hace covenants in their leases acknowledging that they realize that they are adjacent to a park which will have programming in it.
As for programming, a good park needs it. A city with the population of Providence does not provide a very deep reservoir of people to participate in that programming. A 4.5 acre park is easier to programming, and that programming will have a bigger bang, than in a 6 acre park.
There is the very real concern that without development adjacent to the park, it could end up a riverside version of what Station Park is today, windswept nothingness. Station Park is just under 5 acres.
This is a sketch of what the park might look like.
Oh I’m not against it, though I was generally unhappy when they initially sought to reduce the space.
I’m just frustrated that this stuff happened and despite trying to keep up with commission, I had no clue.
I can see ProvPlanning from my door step and NABSYS practically from my window. They meet where I can go and be a part of the public conversation. They just never put up an agenda that suggests anything happens outside of executive session.
They generally don’t meet at Planning, they meet at EDC, which is basically impossible to get to without a car even though I can see it from my kitchen.
Seems like a cool idea. Not Much greenery in the downtown area/ jewlery district other than burnside park. It could make the jewlery distric a little less drabby.