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CRMC slated to begin dredging of Waterplace Park in November
October 17, 2019, Providence – This fall, the RI Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) will be dredging Waterplace Park in downtown Providence in order to restore the full function of the Water Fire events, and to remove years of road silt and sand from the river basin bottom. The CRMC Council approved the maintenance dredge permit at its October 8 meeting.
As the state’s dredging coordinator, the CRMC will be working with project manager The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in Rhode Island, as well as the City of Providence, R.I. Department of Transportation, 195 Commission, and Providence Foundation to remove approximately 22,000 cubic yards of material from bank to bank from the Amtrak bridge under the Providence Place Mall to the Crawford Street Bridge piers. The material will be beneficially reused at a redevelopment site in the city and possibly to cap a landfill in Pawtucket, and the silty material will either be beneficially reused by TNC for marsh creation and elevation in the Seekonk River, or trucked to a Providence Redevelopment lot at 70 Houghton Street.
The CRMC plans to begin the dredging November 15, 2019 and the two dredges will be running 24 hours a day, seven days a week until February 15, 2020. The City of Providence plans to close Peck Street during the duration of the project for through trucking, and the Water Fire braziers will be removed prior to work beginning. The city will be reusing much of the sandy material for its road sanding supply.
“Waterplace Park has been filling in steadily over the years from sand and silt washing into the basin from the surrounding roads,” said CRMC Executive Director Grover Fugate. “This project is a long time coming, and will improve the Water Fire experience and public’s use of the park for years to come.”
Waterplace Park is an important part of downtown Providence’s history, as is the water that flows through the downtown area. In Providence’s early history, water covered the area formerly known as Great Salt Cove. The water was eventually drained, the land filled, and by 1898 railroad tracks ran through the area as the budding metropolis thrived. By the latter half of the 20th century, the downtown area had languished. The River Relocation Project began a revitalization of the city’s center, and brought the water back to Providence’s downtown, including Waterplace Park and Water Fire.
Funding for this project comes from the Green Economy and Clean Water Bond, of which the State of Rhode Island secured $7 million. The project requires the use of two specialty dredges mounted on two low-profile barges. These barges will have pontoons on either side of the metal deck, with a hinged housing that can be swung onto its side for passing under low bridges.