Roger Williams Park is set to receive $10-million dollars for restoration and preservation over the next five years, as part of an initiative launched by the Rhode Island Foundation.
The more than four-hundred acre park has been under the care of the city of Providence since land was first donated in the 1870’s by Betsey Williams. She’s the great-great-great granddaughter of Rhode Island’s founder, Roger Williams.
The park became an important green space and country respite for the many workers building Rhode Island at the turn of the century.
Rhode Island Foundation spokeswoman Jessica David said the park doesn’t hold the same prominence today, and needs a little TLC.
“Really just returning to the park as a center of community in Rhode Island, and I think that it is that, but I think it’s still underutilized and it needs some care,” said David. “It needs some attention, and really what are the needs of the community in the future.”
Half the money will go towards immediate upgrades, for things like roads and bike path. David said right now it can be easy for new park patrons to get lost, so another major upgrade will be new signs.
“So they know what else is there, they know there might be a 3.2 mile around to the ponds, if they want to go for a walk or a run,” said David. “They know that if they happen to stumble on one statue that there are actually almost a dozen others around the park.”
The other five million will go into endowment for maintaining the park.
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