Tucked along the west bank of the Providence River — between the Manchester Street Power Station (now fueled by natural gas) and a working waterfront crowded with piles of road salt and scrap metal — sits Collier Point Park.
The six-acre park — designed by William Warner Architects in 1996 — is accessed right off of Allens Avenue and features fishing piers and a boat ramp, with lots of parking available. There is a path and benches and tables, and naturalistic landscaping supports the look and feel of the place. There are several explanatory text panels with cool old pix.
Novel views of the Iway Bridge, the Hurricane Barrier, and the tugboats across the river, all make for an interesting stroll, but what makes this park unique is that the structural bones of its coal-handling origin have been retained and to great effect. India Point Park was also intensely industrial, but most traces have been removed.
At Collier Park (‘collier’ refers to a coal miner, or a ship carrying coal) we still have tracks and conveyors, set into shiny black coal; the Transfer House is a metal-clad enclosure with a stairway that leads up to a second floor observation deck. (The Russian submarine is no longer there, having been towed to a scrapyard.) And based on one very credible report this winter, you might spot a seal nosing around the shoreline.
This is a great place for fishing, taking arty pictures of your girlfriend, or just enjoying the day. I think more people would use it if they knew where to enter on Allens Avenue. This is not a pedestrian-friendly stretch of road and it’s easy to miss when driving by. Entry to Henderson Street is between the two blue lampposts (seen below) just beneath the highway ramps over Allens Avenue. The park is open from dawn to dusk.