RIPR News
4:38 pm
Mon June 6, 2011

Riverside Park thriving in Olneyville

PROVIDENCE, RI – The head of the White House Council on Environmental Quality toured Riverside Park in Providence Monday to highlight the importance of urban parks and recreation.

With the Atlantic Mills building in the backdrop, dignitaries toured Riverside Park that is tucked inside the Olneyville neighborhood.

A decade ago, it was a Brownfield site plagued with illegal dumping and crime. But now it's a thriving park that includes a playground, bike path and community garden.

Ten-year-old Guillermo Martinez is helping with the garden. He says it's fun to plant things.

"I think it's really good because we can help the planet and our city look really nicer and help the animals live here easier," says Martinez.

Frank Shea is the Executive Director of the Olneyville Housing Corporation. He says before his agency built 50 homes around the park, the neighborhood was riddled with crime.

"The crime rate is down from the time we started acquiring the properties by 90 percent, calls for police service are down 85 to 90 percent," says Shea.

It took $3 million in federal and private funding to create Riverside Park.

Do you have insight or expertise on this topic? Please email us, we'd like to hear from you. news@wrni.org.