I-195 Commission approves plans for new park

THE PLANS APPROVED by the I-195 Commission for a new waterfront park on the west side of the Providence River includes a mix of lawns, paths and public gathering areas.
Posted 11/23/12

PROVIDENCE – The Interstate-195 Redevelopment District Commission has approved plans for a new waterfront park on the west side of the Providence River.

The design, approved by commissioners Monday, includes a mix of lawns, paths and public gathering areas in land between Peck, Dyer and Ship streets that was once covered by the old highway overpass.

The park plan was remade by the city and its consultants this year on the request of the I-195 Commission after members learned they could develop an additional parcel originally set aside for the parks. The new buildable lot is between the park, Dorrance Street, Dyer Street and Ship Street.

At the center of the new design is a promenade extending from the current end of Dorrance Street to a “Grand Public Plaza” on the promontory where a pedestrian bridge will cross the river to the east side riverwalk.

The main plaza will revolve around a piece of vertically-oriented art, such as a sculpture or installation, which has yet to be chosen.

A major objective of the park designers – which include GLA, Brown, Richardson + Rowe Inc. and Fuss & O’Neill Inc. – was to create sightlines of the park and river from the main corridors through the area.

Another was to create “outdoor rooms” that will draw residents, office workers and tourists to congregate in the park year round.

Features in the design plan include seat-height walls around the lawn, tables and chairs at the water’s edge, and a triangular area for a restaurant near Ship Street.

The elevated area where the pedestrian bridge enters the park will be terraced with plantings that could survive being flooded with brackish water.

The primary access points to the park will be at Ship Street, Memorial Boulevard and Dorrance Street.

An area between Peck Street and Dorrance Street is identified in the plans as a possible location for restrooms, a concession stand, a mobile stage and farmer’s market.

The state has set aside $3.8 million for the construction of the west side park, which will be maintained by the I-195 Commission.

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