EAST PROVIDENCE — A process is being put into place so every playground/recreational area in the city will be evaluated on a regular basis going forward and any necessary improvements can be …
EAST PROVIDENCE — A process is being put into place so every playground/recreational area in the city will be evaluated on a regular basis going forward and any necessary improvements can be scheduled promptly.
At the February 21 City Council meeting, Department of Public Works Director Dan Borges, in response to inquiries about current and planned updates, said he was in the beginning stages of personally reviewing all of the spaces and formulating a process to address any issues.
“I’m working on going to each park and identifying the assets that we have. It’s something that’s going to take me some time,” Borges said after being asked about the matter by new Ward 1 member Frank Rego.
Borges continued, “We don’t really have a formal report of all of our assets, but it’s something I’m hoping to develop.”
The director added, saying once in place the next step is to implement a staggered replacement/upkeep program in which the department updates one park a year or one every two years depending on the need.
Rego, at the previous council meeting in February, asked the director to evaluate the structures and grounds of Freedom Green Park at the corner of Centre Street and North Broadway.
Borges said after visiting the location the plan is for the DPW Parks Division to repair rusted portions of gazebo by sanding and repainting later this fall. Also, the benches will be power washed and either polyurethane or some sort of wood protectant will be applied. Also, the garden beds will be cleaned up and replanted where necessary.
Rego also requested a review of the Lyle Bourne Memorial Playground which sits in the neighborhood between Roger Williams Avenue and New Road, specifically the potential to add handicapped accessible equipment for children with disabilities.
Borges said in general the apparatus at Bourne is actually similar to most or newer than some of the other playgrounds.
He reaffirmed his other comment about all areas, saying his department would need “to develop a scope of work, a plan on what to do there.”
Borges did note, however, families with special needs youngsters will have access to ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant equipment as part of the scheduled renovations at the Kent Heights Playground on Clyde Avenue.
Rego said what is being planned for Kent Heights was “great, but it needs to be done in all parts of the city” as well.
As a reminder, in the spring of 2022 the city received a $400,000 allocation from Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management’s “Rec Grant” program for the Kent Heights project. The previous council approved a $150,000 match from East Providence’s Fiscal Year 21-22 Capital Budget.
After internal discussions and a public meeting, the renovations will include upgrading the baseball diamond, construction of a new walking track, resurfacing and upgrades to the existing basketball and tennis courts with new pickleball and futsal courts built adjacent, construction of a full size soccer field and the planting of an additional 100 new trees and shrubs.
Also at the February 14 meeting, At-Large member Bob Rodericks asked for an update on the Riverside Rec complex improvements begun last year.
The previous council, as well, approved allocating $475,000 from unencumbered and unallocated monies remaining in the Fiscal Year 2021-22 Capital Improvement budget towards the project, which included enlarging the existing parking lot off Somerset Avenue among many other facets.
Rodericks was particularly concerned about finishing the construction of an enclosed batting cage adjacent to the baseball diamond. He worried it would remain a “mud pit” when it rained this upcoming season if it was not completed.
Borges said it is the intention of his department to finish that component as well as figure out the best use of new perimeter fencing for security reasons, especially to deter ATV (All Terrain Vehicle) use on the grounds.