Foundation gives $10K grant for Blackstone River education center

ALBERT BEAUPARLANT, left, a Heritage Harbor Foundation board member, delivers a $10,000 grant to David Balfour, Blackstone Valley Tourism Council board chairman, during a recent meeting of the BVTC board in Pawtucket. / COURTESY BLACKSTONE VALLEY TOURISM COUNCIL

PAWTUCKET – The Blackstone Valley Tourism Council has been awarded a $10,000 grant from the Heritage Harbor Foundation to help construct a riverfront education center in Central Falls.

The Blackstone River Exploration Center is planned for the former American Supply Co. building at the Central Falls Landing off Broad Street, where the tourism council launches its Blackstone Valley Explorer tour boat.

The Pawtucket-based tourism council plans to move its office to the Central Falls location and has launched a campaign to raise $50,000 to open the center.

“The Heritage Harbor Foundation is enthusiastically issuing a grant to the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council to assist with its mission of growing sustainable tourism,” said Patrick T. Conley, president of the East Providence-based foundation.

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“A classroom that is appropriately outfitted with adaptive equipment and interactive technology will allow all people to discover and appreciate the history of the Blackstone Valley,” he said. “That will spark more conversations about the fascinating past of the region and naturally increase people’s interest in the Blackstone Valley regardless of where they live.”

“At the Heritage Harbor Foundation, we love the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council for its strong and continued commitment to move toward the goal of teaching our state’s schoolchildren the proud history of the Blackstone Valley,” said Albert Beauparlant, a member of the foundation’s board of directors.

Since the Blackstone Valley Explorer was launched in 1993, more than 350,000 people have taken an educational tour to learn about the history of the Blackstone River and the effects man and manufacturing have had on the watershed, according to the tourism council.

In addition, almost 200,000 students have participated in the RiverClassroom program, learning about the geography of the valley and history of the American Industrial Revolution, as well as the Blackstone River’s ecology and the conservation efforts in the Blackstone Valley watershed. Participation in the program has grown by more than 20 percent during the past two years, the tourism council said.

The proposed education center will be available to the community for group presentations, adult education classes and independent study, the tourism council said.

William Hamilton is a PBN staff writer. Email him at

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