Last week, skilled workmen broke the winter quiet at the Casino with the sound of Sawzalls and impact drills. The City of Providence has begun a $500,000 project replacing the Casino’s inadequate heating and cooling unit, funded by donors to the Roger Williams Park Conservancy.

Skilled workers preparing the exterior of the Casino for new ductwork

For a decades, the City of Providence Park Department staff have worked seven-days-a-week to keep the old inefficient system operating so that we can enjoy some of the Casino for weddings, meetings, and other functions. Today, thanks to the financial support of the Rhode Island Foundation, National Grid, and hundreds of individual donors, this project will:

  • Open the historic and beautiful second floor to the public for events in the hottest and coldest months (post-COVID),
  • Reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions by over 50%, and
  • Eliminate tens of thousands of dollars in annual expenses for the Parks Department.

This unique and complicated project includes:

  • Replacing the old heating and cooling unit and pumps with new, efficient basement boiler, rooftop chiller, and pumps,
  • Installing new ductwork that preserves the ornate plaster work on the second floor, and
  • Building new, historically-appropriate exterior chases to house new ductwork.

The Casino’s old pumps and heating/cooling units

In the last four years you have seen investments in the Park such as new signs, restored façades, refurbished park benches, and new rain gardens. Behind-the-scenes improvements like this and new boilers in the Museum of Natural History, are critical to ensuring the Park is a vibrant place for everyone to enjoy. We will keep you posted on progress throughout the winter, hopefully complete in time for the busy spring season in the Park. Stay tuned!

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