State ‘rebound’ grants include $150K for covered picnic area at Glocester Memorial Park

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PROVIDENCE – Gov. Dan McKee has announced $2.9 million in grants to support the tourism, hospitality, and events industries in Rhode Island, which includes $150,000 for construction of a covered picnic area in Glocester Memorial Park.

Funded through the American Rescue Plan Act, the  RI Rebounds Placemaking Program grants focus on event programming, and outdoor and public space capital improvements across the state.

“We’re building on Rhode Island’s momentum by making strategic investments in the tourism, hospitality and events industries by supporting projects that draw visitors to communities and businesses that were impacted by the pandemic,” said McKee of the awards. “It’s all about bringing people back together in places that are meant to serve as hubs of activity.”

To be eligible for the program, organizations had to demonstrate the manner in which the proposal would aid the tourism and hospitality industries that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Glocester, the funds will be used to construct a large, covered picnic area with tables for outdoor seating, “to supplement restaurant outdoor dining and a small parking area to facilitate accessibility and wayfinding signage.”

It is work that was set to be included in the scope of an original project to rehabilitate the park first authorized by town officials in 2019. The town received $400,000 from the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management through an Outdoor Recreation Grant that year for reconstruction of the park, which had seen no major improvements since it was built in 1997.

Construction was initially slated to begin in 2020, but pandemic-related shutdowns delayed the work and ultimately led to rising costs. Planner Karen Scott told Glocester Town Councilors in March that the estimated $624,000 cost of the park had risen to $1,153,455.

Councilors voted to reduce the scope of the work, cutting out the covered picnic area along with other elements. And in April, when councilors approved the contractor who offered the lowest bid for initial work, Beausoleil Bros. Inc., they also voted to forego the hoped-for signage.

The town reportedly continues to seek additional grants to restore the full scope of the original project.

The complete list of additional grant recipients is found below.

OUTDOOR AND PUBLIC SPACE CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS

  • Town of Smithfield – To construct an outdoor amphitheater, stage, electrical work, landscaping, a restroom facility, and garbage receptacles in addition to family friendly summer and early fall programming.

·         Grant amount: $150,000

  • City of East Providence – To implement the recently completed citywide interpretive signage plan for the City’s 31 historic resources. Funding would support research, writing, image acquisition and graphic production for signage.

·         Grant amount: $75,000

  • City of East Providence – For the capital investment of lighting including receptacles along the East Bay Bike Path to enable small and large events to be held in the evening hours. This request is also for the procurement of a portable stage, portable audio system, and two pop-up Canopies. These elements can also be used throughout the City to support additional events that will bring tourism and revenue to support other local establishments.

·         Grant amount: $75,000

  • City of Cranston – To finalize construction drawings and construct an ADA accessible gazebo in Knightsville Pocket Park.

·         Grant amount: $150,000

  • Town of Cumberland – To improve Diamond Hill Park amphitheater purchase lighting and sound equipment and create a portable stage.

·         Grant amount: $150,000

  • Town of Bristol – To support the design and construction of an outdoor performance stage at Bristol’s Town Beach and Sports Complex.

·         Grant amount: $150,000

  • City of Woonsocket – To demolish and rebuild the existing stage that is located at World War II Memorial Park.

·         Grant amount: $150,000

  • Friends of Linden Place Mansion – For lights to expand outdoor programming. Funding request also includes benches for outdoor spaces, project management, audio tour creation of the gardens and grounds, audio tour script development, and installation of power throughout the gardens.

·         Grant amount: $34,536.38

PUBLIC ART INSTALLATIONS

  • Town of South Kingstown – For design, installation, and future maintenance of an outdoor public art piece in conjunction with the Town’s 300th Anniversary Celebration. 

·         Grant amount: $150,000.

  • The City of Providence Department of Art Culture & Tourism (ACT) – To create three immersive cultural heritage installations along Broad Street in Providence.

·         Grant amount: $75,000

  • Partnership for Providence Parks, Recreation Centers, and Streetscapes – To build ARTCarts that will promote creativity and facilitate placemaking by attracting residents of Providence back into the public spaces, neighborhoods, and businesses around them.

·         Grant amount: $61,691.10

  • The Avenue Concept – For temporary lighting events , permanent public art light in downtown Providence, as part of the Three Nights of Light Providence experience.

·         Project will align with two other events-based projects recommended for funding below: Providence Warwick Convention and Visitors Bureau and WaterFire Arts Center.

·         Grant amount: $152,500

  • South County Tourism Council – To create public art trail, with art focused on sustainability set up in rural locations near Blackstone Valley throughout South County.

·         Grant amount: $50,000

EVENT PROGRAMMING

  • City of Central Falls-Blackstone Valley Tourism – For funding of a food truck festival, salsa dance night, 4th of July celebration, a river cleanup program, car show.

·         Grant amount: $42,150

  • Town of North Providence – To expand their Centredale Village Festival, successfully hosted in 2021, a three-day festival that attracted a crowd of approximately 500 each day to the Smith Street corridor.

·         Grant amount: $150,000

  • Town of Lincoln -To improve and expand programming amenities at Chase Farm and to expand public event programming to consist of outdoor events throughout the year. Expanded events include second annual Memorial Day Parade and Post-Parade, a weekend Farmer’s Market, Fall Festival, and Holiday Tree Decoration and Lighting Festival.

·         Grant amount: $26,423

  • WaterFire Arts Center – For 3 nights of light to take place December 1-3, 2022. Funding would support activation of basin for 3 nights of WaterFire and additional illumination/activation of the State House.

·         Project will align with two other events-based projects recommended for funding below: Providence Warwick Convention and Visitors Bureau and Avenue Concept.

·         Grant amount: $86,250

  • Providence Warwick Convention and Visitors Bureau – To develop citywide Three Nights of Lights to take place from Dec 1-3, 2022 in partnership with WaterFire (also Placemaking applicant) and The Avenue Concept (also Placemaking applicant). Funding request is for advertising, collateral production, and public relations.

·         Project will align with two other events-based projects recommended for funding below: Avenue Concept and WaterFire Arts Center.

·         Grant amount: $40,000

  • NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley – To expand Levitt AMP Woonsocket Music Series, now entering its 5th season. The initiative will expand the 10 weeks of diverse, free, live music, to include extensive food offerings, a vendor fair, cultural activities, youth activities, and other opportunities to engage small businesses.

·         Grant amount: $15,000

  • Federal Hill Commerce Association – For Christmas on the Hill event spanning December 1-31, 2022, with the aim of expanded dining and retail footprint for restaurants and retailers in a month that is vital to closing out the calendar year in a positive way. Request includes staffing, production, performers and other equipment, trolleys, signage, and marketing.

·         Grant amount: $133,200

  • Wilbury Theatre Group – To support the production of outdoor performances at the 9th annual Providence Fringe Festival, July 17-30, 2022.

·         Grant amount: $59,235.78

  • Grow Smart RI -To develop and present a series of professional and community education workshops, events, and materials that will increase the capacity of local organizations and individuals to implement a variety of placemaking strategies in traditional commercial districts that support Rhode Island’s tourism and hospitality industries.

·         Grant amount: $36,206

  • Dirt Palace Public Projects – To create Post Pandemic Picnics, which will focus on public art, preservation, poetry, and music.

·         Grant amount: $87,492

  • East Greenwich Chamber of Commerce – For a series of outdoor events (new and proposed enhanced existing) as an extension of the work that the Chamber has done for many years, particularly during 2020 and 2021 to enhance the East Greenwich business community.

·         Grant amount: $44,840

  • Newport County Development Council – To deliver a range of one-day to series events including hosting the Aquidneck Growers Market, Broadway Street Fair, and Outdoor Art Biennial Exhibition.

·         Grant amount: $88,358.64

  • Rhode Island Zoological Society (Roger Williams Park Zoo) – To enhance outdoor Holiday Light Spectacular (HOLS) event for 2022 and beyond, all designed to attract additional new visitors to the zoo’s HOLS event from Rhode Island and visiting states.

·         Grant amount: $59,989.95

  • Firstworks – For two Urban Carnevale projects to activate Providence public spaces, the bandstand at Roger Williams Park and Downton Providence (via video projections).

·         Grant amount: $138,338

  • Island Moving Company – To expand reach and help to produce the Newport Dance Festival.

·         Grant amount: $77,280

COMBINATION OF EVENTS AND CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS

  • Hope Street Merchant Association – To continue beautification projects and to bring back revenue generating events including landscaping, outdoor pop-up spaces, small business Saturday valet parking, marketing and public relations, neighborhood decorative initiative, and a holiday winter stroll.

·         Grant amount: $96,600

  • The Providence Foundation – For an initiative focused on activating 8 parks in downtown Providence and creating planned programming in those spaces.

·         Grant amount: $132,000

  • Woonsaquatucket River Watershed Council – For pocket parks, greenspace amenities, public art tours, and river based events.

·         Grant amount: $75,000

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