June 8, 2021

Roger Williams Park Conservancy Executive Director Kevin Essington, Providence Park Superintendent Wendy Nilsson, and Rhode Island Foundation President Neil D.  Steinberg announced today a celebration of the partnership that is restoring Roger Williams Park. The “People of the Peoples’ Park” celebration is highlighting Rhode Islanders’ stories of what the Park means to people, while showcasing the partnership’s $13M of investments in the park.

“COVID19 has shown how important it is for everyone, in every zip code, to have access to the outdoors and each other,” said Kevin Essington. “The ‘People of the Peoples’ Park’ celebration is a way to share stories from around Rhode Island and a way for us to thank everyone who made $13M in park improvements a reality.”

The celebration in Roger Williams Park coincides with a summer full of programming in the Park, including music performances with FirstWorks, outdoor theater with Rhode Island Latino Arts, fitness events, “summer camp” for Providence youth, and a return of the Rhode Island Philharmonic.

Everyone can get involved. The Conservancy has created a web page for everyone to share their stories of the Park and what it means to them. Website visitors can also submit their art of the Park. The Conservancy also worked with a local artist to create fun, new Roger Williams Park t-shirts that are available for sale online and during events in the Park. All proceeds from Park merchandise sales go towards programs and investments in the Park.

On October 7th, 2021 the Conservancy, the Parks Department and Rhode Island Foundation will host an in-person celebration in the Park to thank everyone who made the new investments possible. There they will also announce new, upcoming projects as part of the Park’s 150th Anniversary celebration in 2022.

“The partnership between the Providence Parks Department, Rhode Island Foundation, and the Roger Williams Parks Conservancy has been a fabulous success,” said Wendy Nilsson, Superintendent of Providence Parks. “We have leveraged $5M of private funds with an additional $8M in Parks Department personnel, resources and funding including RIDEM Green Economy Bond, Capital Infrastructure Plan (CIP), as well as RWP trust and revenue funding for critical infrastructure and beautification projects. Revitalization includes lighting, benches, roadway, bridge and sidewalk additions and improvements, new recreation trails and amenities, stormwater mitigation features, historic building restorations, landscaping and new trees. Together, we have transformed Roger Williams Park into the People’s Park it was envisioned to be.”

“Thanks to many generous donors, the campaign for Roger Williams Park was an inspirational way for the Rhode Island Foundation to celebrate its 100th Anniversary,” said Neil Steinberg, President of the Rhode Island Foundation. “Half of the dollars raised were invested in a permanent endowment, which is being stewarded by the Foundation. The long-term partnership the campaign created ensures investments continue in the Park for years to come.”

The celebration is possible thanks to the Rhode Island Foundation, the Providence Parks Department, and hundreds of generous individuals, foundations, and businesses. You can participate in the celebration by sharing your story or art, attending an event, or buying Roger Williams Park merchandise today!

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