New park to honor "Chocolateville" legacy

PROVIDENCE, RI – In Central Falls workers are rushing to complete a new park in time for a dedication ceremony set for May 19th. The park will educate visitors about Central Falls' role in the chocolate-making industry.

It will be the smallest park in the smallest city in the smallest state in the country. But Chocolate Mill Overlook Park in Central Falls will tell a big story: the story of a time when the sweet smell of chocolate perfumed the now-struggling city and it was known as "Chocolateville."

Bob Billington of the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council says the park overlooks the site of the William Wheat Chocolate mill which was in operation from the late 18th to the early 19th century.

"It's a small strip of land that abuts the Blackstone River, Roosevelt Avenue and Charles Street in Central Falls," Billington says. "Amazing views of the river that you could never see before because of the invasive species that really took a stranglehold on the normal trees that are supposed to be there."

The new park - which is about a tenth of a football field - will include several interpretive panels about the city's chocolate making roots as well as cherry trees donated by the Japanese government and a boat launch.

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