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RI Department of Environmental Management
ALMOND, DEM BREAK GROUND ON WOONSOCKET'S WW II PARK IMPROVEMENTS
PROVIDENCE - Governor Lincoln Almond this morning announced plans for a major renovation and improvement project at the World War II Veterans Memorial State Park in Woonsocket.
"Each year scores of residents enjoy this beautiful park. It's here where children swim, where neighbors meet on a warm summer day, where our elders go for a walk, where families gather for celebrations like Autumnfest," said Almond.
"This wonderful greenspace has a very special place in the hearts of area residents. That's why we are investing in its future by improving the swimming area, building new facilities including showers, restrooms and a first aid station. And we are making these facilities accessible for those who are disabled," said Almond.
Said Senator Lincoln Chafee, who was in Washington, "My father, as a veteran of Guadalcanal and as a key supporter of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, would have been especially pleased that these funds are being used for much needed improvements at the World War II Memorial Park in Woonsocket. Thanks to this effort, the park will continue to stand as a testament to the courage of World War II veterans and to the value of preserving greenspaces in the hearts of our communities."
"World War II Veterans Memorial State Park is very important to the citizens of Woonsocket," said DEM Director Jan Reitsma. "It provides a highly used recreational greenspace in a densely populated area, and we are committed to making it the jewel of the community."
In the first phase of a two-phase project, DEM will construct a new restroom facility, with first aid station and showers, at the site of the present structure. With design supervised by DEM Planning and Development Office staff, the structure will have a stone veneer in keeping with the park's stone wall landscape, and will be upgraded to meet all new requirements, including improved access for the physically disabled. The deck will be replaced, and new outdoor showers will be installed.
A new chlorination feed system will be installed to replace the outdated existing system and a new water intake line from the mixing pond to Social Pond will be constructed to replace the existing line, which has required maintenance and patchwork on an annual basis.
Debris and sediment will be removed from the bottom of the chlorine mixing pond, which is the treatment facility for the Social Pond swimming facility. Waters of the Mill River are diverted to the mixing pond, where chlorine is added to the water prior to it being conveyed by a subsurface piping system to the swimming pond. DEM and the City of Woonsocket have agreed on a conservation easement on adjacent property along the canal that supplies the water to the swimming pond that will protect the water quality entering the pond. New sand will also be added to the swimming pond beach.
Construction is scheduled so as not to interfere with the city's annual AutumnFest, which is held in the park in October.
The $695,000 cost of the first phase of the project includes $495,000 from state recreation bond funds and $200,000 from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). This marks the first use of LWCF funds since 1995, and is a precursor to a new federal parks and recreation program under the federal Conservation and Reinvestment Act, now under review in the U.S. Senate after passage by the U. S. House of Representatives.
Tso Associates of Boston was the architect for the project and Bryant Associates of Lincoln was the design engineer. The contractor is B & B Environmental Construction Services of Providence.
DEM will begin preliminary design of the second phase of the project this fall. Phase II, which would be funded by the federal Conservation and Reinvestment Act if passed by Congress, includes creation of a distinctive entryway, improvements to landscaping the 15-acre park, new sidewalks and a new play area. The department will work closely with the city on design of specific recreational activities.
Although the swimming area will be closed during construction, DEM has worked with the RI Public Transit Authority to provide swimming alternatives for the summer. RIPTA, in response to the situation, has scheduled special bus service from World War II Veterans Memorial Park to Lincoln Woods, and the regular beach bus to Narragansett Beaches will begin its trip at the park to accommodate local residents.
Beginning on July 1, RIPTA will offer five scheduled buses in each direction between World War II Veterans Memorial Park and Lincoln Woods, beginning at 9:05 a.m. from World War II Veterans Memorial Park and ending with a 3:45 p.m. bus back from Lincoln Woods. The fare will be $1.25 each way, and bus passes can be used. RIPTA's regular beach bus service from Woonsocket to Galilee, Roger Wheeler, and Scarborough Beaches also begins July 1, with a $3.50 round trip fare. Passes are not valid on this trip. The beach bus run will begin at 9 a.m. at World War II Veterans Memorial Park to accommodate park users.