Adventure Planned for New ‘Climate-Smart’ Providence Park

The new park is scheduled to open next year. (Project designed by Hali Beckman Ltd., Ironwood Design Group and AMEC Foster Wheeler)

The new park is scheduled to open next year. (Project designed by Hali Beckman Ltd., Ironwood Design Group and AMEC Foster Wheeler)

By ecoRI News staff

PROVIDENCE — The Trust for Public Land and a coalition of local partners, including the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council and One Providence Cycling, have teamed up to transform a vacant brownfield along the Woonasquatucket River into a “climate-smart” adventure park.

Located in the heart of the city’s Olneyville neighborhood — a community where about 40 percent of families live below the poverty line — the park will provide outdoor activities for at-risk youth and help Providence address the impacts of a changing climate.

Designed in partnership with local youth, the park will feature two bicycle pump tracks and a parkour course, diversifying the city’s athletic offerings and serving as a retreat for teenagers who don’t participate in traditional sports. A multi-use hiking and biking trail will meander the property and connect to gathering spaces, a pavilion and the existing 5-mile Woonasquatucket River Greenway.

Beyond its many recreational amenities, the Woonasquatucket River Adventure Park will serve as a model climate-smart park as it helps connect, cool, absorb and protect — the four pillars of The Trust for Public Land’s national climate-resiliency strategy.

Among the park’s planned “green” infrastructure elements are: shade trees that will cool the neighborhood during heat waves; permeable surfaces that will absorb stormwater to prevent runoff from entering the river; and a restored shoreline that will protect the park and neighborhood from flooding.

The Trust for Public Land and its partners worked together to complete master planning for the design and helped the city receive a $398,800 award from the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management. The park is slated to open in 2018.

The Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council is holding its Earth Day event April 22 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Merino Park site.

Wickford-based Hali Beckman Ltd. is the designer of the park.