New waterfront walking path unveiled at ProvPort

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Officials at ProvPort and Save The Bay on Thursday unveiled a new public walking path with a stunning view of Narragansett Bay on a decommissioned landfill off of Allens Avenue.

ProvPort spent $2.5 million cleaning up the area known as parcel 288, which it agreed to lease from the city in 2015 for $145,000 a year, at Fields Point. The parcel was not included in the organization’s 1994 agreement to purchase the waterfront campus for $16.4 million.

The short walking path can be accessed by driving through the Johnson and Wales University Harborside Campus and parking near the Save The Bay headquarters. Officials said the space is ideal for walking, bird watching, fishing, dog walking and photography.

“This certainly isn’t the longest public walking trail in Rhode Island, but it is the newest and it is especially important to create greater access to the waterfront in urban areas,” said Paul Moura, chairman of ProvPort’s board of directors. “We appreciate the contributions made by the city of Providence and Save The Bay to create this wonderful space and we want to thank our regulatory partners for working with us to transform what was once a decommissioned landfill into something we can all be proud of.”

The trail was made possible by the Urban Coastal Green program created through the R.I. Coastal Resources Management Council, which assisted with the permitting process.

Jonathan Stone, executive director of Save The Bay, said his organization has long advocated for strong public access to Narragansett Bay.

“This beautiful new cove only adds to the value of Fields Point, and we thank ProvPort for sharing in our commitment to make Narragansett Bay accessible to everyone,” he said.

ProvPort, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, has nine tenants on its campus and has a longstanding agreement to pay 6% of its gross revenue to the city in lieu of real estate taxes. All of its tenants all pay state and local taxes.

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza praised ProvPort and Save The Bay for their partnerships with the city.

“Increasing access to our waterfront increases the opportunities for our residents and visitors to engage with the coastline,” Elorza said. “Providence is uniquely positioned at the head of the Narragansett Bay and we will continue activating this space in creative ways, like this walking path.”

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Dan McGowan ( dmcgowan@wpri.com ) covers politics, education and the city of Providence for WPRI.com. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter: @danmcgowan