Brownfield Site Welcomes Planting of Trees

By ecoRI News staff

PROVIDENCE — A diverse group of community stakeholders recently planted 60 trees along Adelaide Avenue and on the site of the former Gorham Silver Manufacturing Co. in the city’s Reservoir Triangle neighborhood.

Community members and organizations, students from the Dr. Jorge Alvarez High School and the Providence Department of Parks and Recreation joined together to plant both new street trees and replacement trees on the former Gorham property, where a brownfield cleanup has been underway for more than a decade. The cleanup is wrapping up and residents are engaged in efforts to transform this once-toxic property into a beautiful public space along the shores of Mashapaug Pond.

Funding for the Oct. 15 planting came from a $20,000 grant from TD Green Streets, a program of TD Bank administered by the Arbor Day Foundation that supports innovation in urban forestry. The grant was awarded to the Providence Department of Parks and Recreation and is being managed by Groundwork Providence, a community-based organization that makes physical improvements to the urban environment to create economic opportunities and healthier places for people to live.

“We are thrilled that Providence received this funding from TD Bank in order to plant much needed trees in Reservoir Triangle to help protect water quality in Mashapaug Pond and increase the tree canopy in the city,” Amelia Rose, executive director of Groundwork Providence, said. “Mashapaug Pond is a natural gem; and now that the Gorham site clean up is almost complete, people are really coming together to turn this space into a wonderful new public park that is open and accessible to all.”

In addition to this recent planting, Groundwork Providence, with the support of the Providence Department of Parks and Recreation, led another community planting of 20 trees in the spring at the Community Boating Center off Reservoir Avenue, and has coordinated environmental workshops for Alvarez High School students as a part of this grant with partners including UPP Arts, Providence Water and the Northern R.I. Conservation District.

The Providence Neighborhood Planting Program (PNPP) joined the effort this fall to help coordinate the street tree plantings on Adelaide Avenue, along with nine other community planting events it’s running in other parts of the city throughout October.

"We are very excited to have gotten more street trees planted at this location – one of our target areas for increasing tree canopy”, said Cassie Tharinger, PNPP’s director. “Getting the trees in the ground is only half the battle however; the other essential component is broad-based community engagement in that process. Collaborative, multi-stakeholder projects like this one, focused on the Gorham site and Mashapaug Pond, are so valuable in fostering involvement and participation – as we all work to make our streets and public spaces greener, cleaner and healthier.”

Along with Providence, nine other municipalities were awarded TD Green Streets grants this year, including New Haven, Conn., and Worcester, Mass.