Woony Greenway Pocket Park & The River Rangers
This is coming along nicely. More greenway is being developed courtesy of the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council (WRWC), this time it is a section along Kinsley Avenue. For this photo I had my back to Eagle Street; down on the right is the Steel Yard. And don’t you just know that Clay Rockefeller had something to do with the genesis of this project. Clay modestly answered a few questions for me, deflecting credit whenever possible to the other people involved. I am happy to name them as well.
Clay first started thinking about the possibilities of the site a few years ago when the NBC had the intersection dug up with the storm water separation project. (I mention this detail so as to reflect on my own reaction to construction detours. I tend to curse and rage as I grind my way into reverse, and speed off. Clay envisions a verdant, restful oasis, and makes some phone calls. His way is better.) He writes,
As a neighborhood resident I reached out to Lisa Aurecchia of the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council, and I engaged Kaki Martin, of Klopfer Martin, the landscape architect we had worked with on the Steel Yard and we began thinking about what a pocket park might look like.
Kaki led the design process and Lisa guided it thru all of the various layers of permitting (which was exhaustive).
Clay went on to emphasize that all the credit should go to Lisa for “making this dream a reality, for without her relentless determination this vision would not have been realized.” Believe me Clay, you had me at “permitting.”
Praise also for Councilwoman Sabina Matos who “was also hugely instrumental in bringing this to fruition as she assisted with locating funding.”
Where to next? Those involved have this crazy idea that a continuous linear park all the way down and connecting to the river walk would be pretty swell. Just a thought. But I feel like that could happen.
Now about those awesome WRWC River Rangers doing all the heavy lifting (and funded by RIDOT and the United Way).
River Rangers work for twenty two weeks from April to September, performing landscape beautification and improvements including mowing, weed whacking, brush cutting, spot weeding, mulching, picking up litter, watering plants, sweeping, raking, river clean ups, tree pruning, fence repair, working with volunteers, and graffiti removal.
Seen here is Curtis Jones sweeping stone dust between the black locust pavers. (Black locust is insanely hard, durable, and resistant to rot — good choice.) Jones was helpful with identifying the plant material in use and very enthusiastic about the River Rangers program. I’d like to add my personal kudos to Kaki Martin and her design. Inkberry, clethra, and, one of my faves, black gum — a.k.a. tupelo, or nyssa — will all enhance the natural feel of the river’s edge.