New Headquarters for WaterFire Providence in old Rubber Plant

Jul 22, 2013

Gov. Lincoln Chafee, and Rhode Island’s entire congressional delegation was on hand to celebrate the unveiling of the new headquarters for Providence Water Fire.

The old Uniroyal Rubber Plant in Providence will house the new WaterFire Providence headquarters, but first the site must be clean, after being exposed to contaminants for years.
Credit John Bender / RIPR

The old Uniroyal Rubber Plant building on Valley Street near Eagle Square is getting a second life after being shut down and sitting unused. 

The arts non-profit WaterFire Providence will be moving in thanks to 800-thousand dollars in federal grants secured from the Environmental Protection Agency.

The money is needed to fund clean-up of the building site on which contaminants from its rubber-making days are still present.

WaterFire will use the building to house all of the equipment used to produce the eponymous show that takes place in downtown Providence each summer, as well as its offices.

Chafee said the location of the headquarters is part of a revitalization of the neighborhood.

“We’re transforming this area of Providence, Valley Street, from the old industrial economy, to a more creative economy," said Chafee. "And unfortunately a lot of these industrial sites had contamination in the soil we have to clean it up, and put it back to a productive use.”

In addition to WaterFire’s headquarters, the building will also house artist studios and a variety of educational and outreach programs.

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