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The New Waterplace Park

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So I took a short walk around Waterplace last night. With the Sox on the West coast sometimes I don't know what to do with myself between 9-10 PM when I'm already tired from working on my house.

- GTech is getting closer and closer to completion.

- Waterplace has enough structural work that you can get a feel for how the buildings are going to interact with the park.

- Fidelity has done a nice job cleaning up the area of Station Park around the Amex building.

Here are the problems. I was walking around and those who have met me can understand why I'm not really nervous about walking around really anywhere. However, if I were a woman or even a smaller man I would probably not walk Waterplace alone at night. There were screaming teenagers in every corner, there was no lighting other than some spot lighting at the GTech ground floor and the residual light from the surface roads. There was trash all over the place (especially in the water) and basically a feeling of "who cares about this park?" In fact, there was a large group of folks at PPM last night that were bussed in. A lot of the folks on those busses were taking in the city (apparently). None of them went through Waterplace Park, instead electing to go all the way around the park - I would assume because of the fact that it looked dark and creepy and basically closed.

So my questions are this:

- In the interim, until GTech and Waterplace are finished, is it really right for the city to basically ignore this park? Maybe they are cleaning and doing graffiti runs once in a while, but this is supposed to be part of the centerpiece of the city! Between Waterplace, Burnside, and Station the Providence Parks Department comes off pretty poorly.

- who did the landscaping at the base of GTech? Did GTech do it or the city? Anyone know? I like it, but...it seems to be indicating that the park and the building are separate. I was hoping for some kind of al fresco seating for whatever restaurant went into GTech. I guess it's still possible, but it would be nice if the dining was closer to the water, (like if you have dinner at the restaurants at the Bellagio in LV).

- Is the expectation that GTech and Waterplace will maintain their "corners" of the park? Thereby leaving only the amphitheatre, bridges, and sidewalk areas to the city?

- No matter what, at some point I hope there is enough civic pride to keep the copious amounts of trash out of the water?

I know the Parks Dept. tries hard and that they are probably better off maintaining neighborhood parks where there are residents, but right now Waterplace kind of sucks.

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the lighting of that park is horrible. if it's not a waterfire night, it just doesn't feel safe walking through there after dusk. i'm not a particularly small man, but i don't feel 100% safe walking through there at night. better lighting is probably the best and easiest fix for that. also maybe having a cop on a bike ride through there every now and then would be a good idea. it'd scare off some of the screaming teenagers and anyone else going down there for illicit activities.

i wanna say the landscaping around gtech was actually there before the building was built. i remember some landscaping between where the building went up and waterplace. i could be wrong on this one though. i do expect that any restaurant that goes in there and is on the park side will want outdoor seating for the summer months. it'd be a great place, similar to the now waterplace restaurant's outdoor seating.

i would assume gtech and waterplace will be required to maintain their areas, at least what's on their property and maybe any sidewalks right next to it.

aside from the graffiti, the trash in the water is probably the biggest issue. it's absolutely disgusting looking in and seeing crap floating in the water or even sitting at the bottom of the river. it needs to be cleaned out. hopefully a lot of this will stop if they do get better lighting and have more people there to enjoy the park. unfortunately, those screaming teenagers are probably part of that trash problem. why use a trash can when you can throw it in the river?

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Good points here.

As far as Waterplace Park is concerned, before GTech and Waterplace were constructed, the park was essentially surrounded by undeveloped dirt lots. The park aside, there was not much down there to see or do with the exception of WaterFire.

When GTech and Waterplace are complete, they'll undoubtably have their own security people in place, and that will aid somewhat in the policeing of the park. The times I went with my wife, we pretty much stayed near the ampitheater and the restaurant nearby. It looked generally clean and safe there. I would expect the same once nearby constrcution is complete and the park is more heavily used by people. I would fuly expect GTech and Waterplace to maintain their areas of the park. The section of the river by Citizens is well maintained as an example.

No one can expect that the trash in the water was thrown in there at Waterplace Park. More likely, it floated down river from the Olneyville/Manton area, and where the flow of the river slows at the Waterplace Park basin, it sort of stays there. Providence need to enforce its' littering laws so less trash is thrown in upstream.

The park will be brighter and more lively once nearby construction is complete.

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I should also clarify before some folks come in and accuse me of race or classism on the teenager thing.

- There was quite an ethnic mix of the kids.

- When I say screaming, I'm not talking about a bunch of kids hanging out and being loud. I'm talking that literally there were kids screaming at random intervals at the top of their lungs. Anything I could understand was an obscenity, and at least some of the screams were directed at the few folks who actually were in the park trying to enjoy themselves.

- speaking of security, I am personally surprised that there isn't a larger security force for the construction. It would not be hard for an agile young adult to scale the Waterplace fence and get themselves very much hurt. Maybe there is security and I haven't seen it.

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Good points here.

As far as Waterplace Park is concerned, before GTech and Waterplace were constructed, the park was essentially surrounded by undeveloped dirt lots. The park aside, there was not much down there to see or do with the exception of WaterFire.

When GTech and Waterplace are complete, they'll undoubtably have their own security people in place, and that will aid somewhat in the policeing of the park. The times I went with my wife, we pretty much stayed near the ampitheater and the restaurant nearby. It looked generally clean and safe there. I would expect the same once nearby constrcution is complete and the park is more heavily used by people. I would fuly expect GTech and Waterplace to maintain their areas of the park. The section of the river by Citizens is well maintained as an example.

No one can expect that the trash in the water was thrown in there at Waterplace Park. More likely, it floated down river from the Olneyville/Manton area, and where the flow of the river slows at the Waterplace Park basin, it sort of stays there. Providence need to enforce its' littering laws so less trash is thrown in upstream.

The park will be brighter and more lively once nearby construction is complete.

i forgot about the security at the new buildings... also something to consider is that the waterplace residents will not be happy about living there if the park isn't maintained and the river looks like a cesspool. so i'm sure we'll see some lobbying on the part of waterplace once people are living there.

I should also clarify before some folks come in and accuse me of race or classism on the teenager thing.

- There was quite an ethnic mix of the kids.

- When I say screaming, I'm not talking about a bunch of kids hanging out and being loud. I'm talking that literally there were kids screaming at random intervals at the top of their lungs. Anything I could understand was an obscenity, and at least some of the screams were directed at the few folks who actually were in the park trying to enjoy themselves.

i've seen that myself. this is why i think it would be prudent for the city to have a cop stroll through there every now and then either on foot or on bike (bike would probably be ideal).

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I really don't see why it's so scary at night. The Memorial Blvd underpass end is always buzzing with activity from the Union Station restaurants, and the end up by Bella Vista is nice and open and visible from the mall, etc. The only part I could see being remotely remote and scary would be the side along Memorial just outside of the underpass.

The bigger problem here I think is the trash in the river. It really is quite disgusting, and since it's a tidal river, there's little flow and therefore the trash just sits there and looks horrible. They should put some kind of netting under the mall and train tracks to catch trash, then have someone clean it out weekly (and maybe something on the other end near 195 as well, depending on the source of the trash). For the trash that's tossed in from the actual park, not much we can do besides make sure trash receptacles are plentiful and emptied.

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brick you are right on. By the way you should have seen the park during the winter and spring. It was really bad.

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I really don't see why it's so scary at night. The Memorial Blvd underpass end is always buzzing with activity from the Union Station restaurants, and the end up by Bella Vista is nice and open and visible from the mall, etc. The only part I could see being remotely remote and scary would be the side along Memorial just outside of the underpass.

The bigger problem here I think is the trash in the river. It really is quite disgusting, and since it's a tidal river, there's little flow and therefore the trash just sits there and looks horrible. They should put some kind of netting under the mall and train tracks to catch trash, then have someone clean it out weekly (and maybe something on the other end near 195 as well, depending on the source of the trash). For the trash that's tossed in from the actual park, not much we can do besides make sure trash receptacles are plentiful and emptied.

i haven't been down there at all this summer at night (although i was during the fireworks display, but that was it). i was down there in may-ish and i've been down other times. the bella vista area isn't as buzzing as many would think. just becuse it's visible from the mall doesn't mean there aren't people there causing a nuisance. and the union station end is dead except on the other side of the underpass. on the park side is where kids like to hang out because they go virtually un-noticed.

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The bigger problem here I think is the trash in the river. It really is quite disgusting, and since it's a tidal river, there's little flow and therefore the trash just sits there and looks horrible. They should put some kind of netting under the mall and train tracks to catch trash, then have someone clean it out weekly (and maybe something on the other end near 195 as well, depending on the source of the trash). For the trash that's tossed in from the actual park, not much we can do besides make sure trash receptacles are plentiful and emptied.

That's a great idea. Someone should push that idea to Ciccline.

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- speaking of security, I am personally surprised that there isn't a larger security force for the construction. It would not be hard for an agile young adult to scale the Waterplace fence and get themselves very much hurt. Maybe there is security and I haven't seen it.

There's graffiti on the Waterplace side of the river behind their fencing.

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Well, I walked along the newest portion of the River Walk near Dyer Street and am sad to report that it was full of trash. The city doesn't seem to be emptying the trash barrels, which are overflowing, and there was plenty of graffiti despite the Mayor's new pledge to get tough on the issue.

I hate to say it but I think there should be a moritorium on new city parks until the city shows that it can take care of the ones that already exist. The parks dept is doing a lousy, lousy job.

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My questions is...does anyone know when the fountain wil work again?

in another thread somewhere, it was mentioned that the spray from the fountain was tossing nasty pollutants into the air, so they shut it off to keep the air clean. if they can clean the river, i'm sure we'll see it again, but i doubt that'll happen anytime soon.

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in another thread somewhere, it was mentioned that the spray from the fountain was tossing nasty pollutants into the air, so they shut it off to keep the air clean. if they can clean the river, i'm sure we'll see it again, but i doubt that'll happen anytime soon.

I thought the combined sewer overflow thing was going to help remediate some of the sewage problems in the Woonasquatucket, and therefore that they would soon be able to turn the fountain on. ("soon" being a relative term, of course)

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There's graffiti on the Waterplace side of the river behind their fencing.

There's also brand new graffiti all over the new 1-195 highway extension. It's very vixble from the existing highway.

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Well, I walked along the newest portion of the River Walk near Dyer Street and am sad to report that it was full of trash. The city doesn't seem to be emptying the trash barrels, which are overflowing, and there was plenty of graffiti despite the Mayor's new pledge to get tough on the issue.

I hate to say it but I think there should be a moritorium on new city parks until the city shows that it can take care of the ones that already exist. The parks dept is doing a lousy, lousy job.

I completely agree. In another thread, I posted my sentiments for creating this new water park along the re-located highway and the persistence of people to develop this mystical Ship Street Canal. The ideas are somewhat enticing, but any excitement is quickly dwindled when you look at the state of the current parks in this city. The funny thing is that , aside from Roger Williams, there really aren't that many "parks" in the city. You would think that what little we have would be better maintained.

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I completely agree. In another thread, I posted my sentiments for creating this new water park along the re-located highway and the persistence of people to develop this mystical Ship Street Canal. The ideas are somewhat enticing, but any excitement is quickly dwindled when you look at the state of the current parks in this city. The funny thing is that , aside from Roger Williams, there really aren't that many "parks" in the city. You would think that what little we have would be better maintained.

PARKS DEPARTMENT KEY PHONE NUMBERS

Superintendents Office 785-9450

Forestry Division 785-9450, ext. 270

North Burial Ground 331-0177

Park Maintenance Division 785-9450, ext. 230

Roger Williams Park Casino 785-9450, ext. 240

Roger Williams Park Museum & Planetarium 785-9450, ext. 221

Roger Williams Park Zoo 785-3510

Triggs Memorial Golf Course 521-8460

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What would be best is a new unit or colaboration; we can dub it "Friends of Water Place Park". If you walk by Bella Vista you can see two of their chairs in the water. While I think we can all agree that once the new areas around WPP are up and done, security will not be an issue. I can almost picture a late night yuppie hang out.

One aspect of the tunel that leads to Union Station Brew. I really adore is the half circle steps. I would love to go to a slam session their, be it politics, poetry, or art. It seems to be a great location for such an event. Seating for a crowd, an area for the act... It could work...

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unfortunately i believe that the more we develop high end housing, restaurants and office space around the park the less accessable to the public it will become and public fun stuff, like shakespeare and poetry and the like won't be encouraged.

I think a good example of how this happens is to look at DePasquale Square. That's a public park/space if i'm not mistaken, but you wouldn't know it because all the restaurants have taken over parts of the real estate for their own businesses. I will concede that its a vibrant and important part of Atwells Avenue and the whole Federal Hill experience but i bet if Cotuit and I decided to stage a few acts of King Lear one summer afternoon, we'd be run out of there in a Providence Minute, which, btw, is like a new york minute but takes about 90 seconds and includes some choice hand gestures. and a wedgie.

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The funny thing is that , aside from Roger Williams, there really aren't that many "parks" in the city.

What exactly do you mean by "parks." This perceived need for greenspace came up several times during the Providence Tomorrow meeting tonight. What I see is a lot of greenspace that no one ever uses. A combination of poor maintenance and poor location (i.e. not being conveniently near where people live/work/play) leaves our existing greenspace unused and translates into a perception of a lack of greenspace. That's also coupled with a general lack of urban tree canopy. If our streets themselves were greener, perhaps people wouldn't percieve that we lack greenspace.

That's a public park/space if i'm not mistaken

Is it? Personally, I'm fine with it being taken over by the restaurants, as if it is a public park, it's the best one in the city as far as upkeep.

We can do Shakespeare in Garibaldi Park or that weed patch at the end of Sutton Street.

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That's also coupled with a general lack of urban tree canopy. If our streets themselves were greener, perhaps people wouldn't percieve that we lack greenspace.

Geez, when we were walking all over town last week, it sure looked like there was plenty of tree canopy, at least compared to most cities. On a lot of the streets, two people can't walk side-by-side without one of them smacking into a tree every 50 feet or so.

You're looking for more trees than that? :silly:

Urb

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You're looking for more trees than that? :silly:

On Federal Hill I am. And in some other areas, Broad Street notably (since I was just there).

At the Providence Tomorrow meeting someone from (I think) South Providence, pointed out how it was hard to escape the heat, because if you go outside to get out of a hot apartment, you're on a hot sidewalk with no shade, because there aren't enough trees.

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I think a good example of how this happens is to look at DePasquale Square.

Huh? :blink: Goodness, I wish there were more instances of informal public/private partnerships like that where someone besides the city takes ownership of space (since the city hasn't thus far proven they can do it well). DePasquale Square is probably the best kept public space in Providence!

What I see is a lot of greenspace that no one ever uses. A combination of poor maintenance and poor location (i.e. not being conveniently near where people live/work/play) leaves our existing greenspace unused and translates into a perception of a lack of greenspace.

Perfect example of this is Witherby Park in Wayland. Never heard of it? Neither have most people living within 1-2 blocks of it.

It's actually a very pretty patch of greenspace that unfortunately doesn't provide much quiet as it's located between the cars roaring down Waterman St. toward the Henderson Bridge and the, ah, colorful bustle of people trying to put their lives back together at the Salvation Army across the street. It also, unfortunately, serves to psychologically cut off Richmond Square from Wayland Square proper. When people say that Richmond Square feels "isolated," I guarantee you Witherby Park is the reason.

Not helping things is that the park is almost too wooded, to the degree that you don't always feel seen and safe. It doesn't help that there's virtually no lighting at night either.

A house for sale there bordering Witherby on RILiving.com right now lists itself as "next to a little used park."

A shame. A pretty, well meaning piece of greenspace that is unfortunately in the wrong place and actually, to a degree, hurts the neighborhood connectivity...

I completely agree... The ideas are somewhat enticing, but any excitement is quickly dwindled when you look at the state of the current parks in this city...

I'll third that. I wish actually there was a moritorium against new park/open space until such time the city reach an agreeable balance maintaining what it already has...

- Garris

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there's a lot of greenspace that isn't maintained. there's a nice park that i've mentioned before by mr lemon (it's just off of hawkins by admiral/douglas). it's huge and would be an awesome park, but it has benches missing some necessary slats on the seat, it's got grass that's basically a sand pit. it has basketball hoops without hoops. it has grass growing out of cracks in the tennis courts, which have sagging nets. and it has grass about 6 inches tall and leaves everywhere. it's a perfect neighborhood park, but it's a dump.

i am not worried about places like waterplace park and the stuff being built around it. the park is very accessible from many places where there aren't buildings (and never will be), like the union station underpass, the ampitheatre, etc. it's still visible from the street. i think having waterpalce condos next to it will make it seem more accessible because it will have people right there all the time. and i think that'll help keep it clean.

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Huh? :blink: Goodness, I wish there were more instances of informal public/private partnerships like that where someone besides the city takes ownership of space (since the city hasn't thus far proven they can do it well). DePasquale Square is probably the best kept public space in Providence!

agreed, but that wasn't my point. my point was that as private entities take over public spaces, the less public they become. And the less apt for there to be public events in those spaces.

and i believe that regardless of how much people love DePasquale Square, my point is still valid.

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