MBTA COMMUTER RAILThe Pawtucket Foundation has been a prime mover in the effort to restore the MBTA commuter rail stop in downtown Pawtucket over the past decade. This project was awarded a TIGER grant this summer and RI DOT and local municipalities have provided the balance of the funding for the $40M project located on the existing Amtrak and Commuter Rail line by the Conant Thread factory. RIPTA also received the necessary grant to add a series of three super stops along Exchange Street and a bus hub at the new commuter rail station. By the end of 2019 when the station is due to be completed, Pawtucket and Central Falls will be able to provide a rail stop with service to Providence, T.F. Green Airport and Boston, as well as smooth transition into the bus network that serves the area.. Work is now focused on planning and improving the Transit Oriented Development area around the station. The 50-acre district includes 2.0m sf of vacant historic mill space, and another 2.0m sf of vacant land. The Foundation and planning departments of the two cities, will take the master planning work done by VHB, consultants to RI DOT, and expand on the design, zoning, legal, funding, marketing, branding and public engagement to position the district for development over the next 10-15 years.Commuter Rail Studies and Links:
RIVERFRONT CORRIDOR INITIATIVEPawtucket has no greater natural resource than the historic Blackstone/Pawtucket River that runs through its downtown. The river played a vital role for early settlers and in providing the energy necessary to begin the American Industrial Revolution at Slater Mill. Today, the river provides an opportunity for recreation and attracting redevelopment. The Pawtucket Foundation worked for and helped advance the construction of Festival Pier on the east bank and Town Landing on the west bank of the river, used by residents for passive recreation and for tourism at such international events as the Dragon Boat races held every year in late summer. The Chocolate Mill Overlook Park in Central Falls commemorates one of the nation’s earliest water powered chocolate mills. And, the River is now the centerpiece of the new Blackstone Valley National Park that extends from the southern end of the Blackstone through historic Slater Mill and downtown Pawtucket, to the towns of xxx to the north. In the past decade, $184M in private sector investments have resulted in numerous mill redevelopments and new construction in the downtown and along the river. Riverfront Corridor Initiative has targeted two sites along the river’s edge.The Pawtucket Foundation supports and helps advance the Division Street riverfront parcel(s) to be developed along the east bank with a mix of residential and commercial uses. The Tidewater site along the west bank is being readied for development with environmental assessments and remediation through RIDEM brownfields grants. Identifying Riverfront PotentialThe report prepared by FXM Associates revealed several key findings:
The Pawtucket Foundation and the City of Pawtucket contracted Thurlow Small Architecture to complete the Pawtucket Downtown Design Plan, which includes guidelines to encourage bicycle use and pedestrian activity near retail by installing bike racks, benches, waste receptacles, planters, plantings and banners. The Pawtucket Foundation received a Community Development Block Grant for two Streetscape Enhancement Projects in downtown. Main Street Streetscape Improvement ProjectAs the fiscal agent and project manager, the Pawtucket Foundation helped facilitate the design, purchase and installation of:
Armory Arts District Streetscape Improvement ProjectIn August, 2013, the Pawtucket Foundation and the Armory Arts District Streetscape Committee designed and installed Armory Arts District banners, landscaping enhancements and gateway improvements.Downtown Public SpaceThe Pawtucket Foundation also introduced two programs in 2016 to activate public spaces in downtown with yoga classes, grow boxes and green art. The Foundation also developed a proposal for a “clean and safe” improvement district, sustainable through federal programs that help put people to work. [Image of yoga; ivy wall, planter boxes]Pawtucket Proud DayThe Foundation organizes, supplies and directs an annual city clean up day. Companies based in Pawtucket donate their staff time to a day of public space landscape and maintenance. It has become a tradition and promotes both civic engagement as well as city beautification. Read more about Pawtucket Proud Day...