PROVIDENCE - The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management is holding a special ceremony today to mark construction on a new "green" beach pavilion at Lincoln Woods State Park. Lincoln Woods, located just outside the Providence metro area, is one of Rhode Island's most popular state parks, attracting nearly one million visitors each year.
"Rhode Island is fortunate to have wonderful parks and natural areas where people can experience a beautiful sunset, hike a trail, or catch a fish," said First Gentleman Andy Moffit. "Exploring nature provides an opportunity to recharge, connect with family, and promote healthy habits in our children. It's so important to our economy and way of life in Rhode Island that we continue to invest in these special places. I applaud Senator Reed and our Congressional Delegation for their leadership in making this great project at Lincoln Woods possible."
The project will modernize facilities and visitor amenities at the Lincoln Woods beach while also improving energy efficiency and enhancing water quality in the lake. Three new buildings, connected by a central plaza, will be constructed; the fully-accessible buildings will house concessions, office space, restroom and shower facilities, and a nature center for educational programming. They were designed both to honor the history and aesthetic of the park as well as reduce their impact on the natural environment through the use of efficient technology, recycled materials, and innovative design strategies.
"The beach will always be the main attraction, but once it is completed this new facility will really enhance the visitor experience. I was pleased to work with the National Park Service to direct $1.7 million in federal funding to help make this restoration project a reality. The new pavilion offers a major upgrade in both aesthetic and practical terms. It will enhance recreational, educational, and ecological opportunities here at the park and be a model for sustainability," said Reed, the former Chairman of the Interior Appropriations Committee, which oversees the National Park Service's budget.
"Lincoln Woods is one of our state's most impressive parks, and this new green beach pavilion will make it an even more attractive destination," said Cicilline. "I applaud the Department of Environmental Management on this important milestone. I look forward to continuing to work with them as this project moves ahead."
"Our parks, beaches, and open spaces are part of what make Rhode Island so special," said DEM Director Janet Coit. "These assets are core to our economy and culture - and key to our state remaining a great place to live, visit, and raise a family. Parks like Lincoln Woods are also vitally important to connecting urban communities to the outdoors, providing a safe place for families to recreate, educating children about nature, and fostering the next generation of environmental stewards."
Other key features of the project include:
* New facilities connected to local water and sewer systems, eliminating the need for the public drinking water well and septic system currently used. * The facilities' footprint and the swimming area shift east, moving the beach away from sensitive wetlands and reducing impacts to water quality. * The building design uses a combination of passive ventilation and daylighting to minimize the need for cooling and heating. * Highly efficient mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems conserve natural resources. * Solar energy used for heating water in key areas, including the main building and in public showers, to reduce energy consumption of park operations. * The landscape design includes native, non-invasive species that require minimal irrigation. * The new, expanded parking area made of porous asphalt; bike racks added to promote more active forms of transportation.
The $5.3 million project was designed by Providence-based Brewster Thornton Group Architects and will be constructed by Ahlborg Construction Corporation of Warwick, Rhode Island. It is being funded through the National Park Service Land and Water Conservation Fund ($1.7 million) and RICAP ($3.6 million). The beach will be open throughout 2016; the swimming area will be restricted and visitor facilities at the beach will be limited. Portable restrooms will be installed for public use; concessions, showers, and changing facilities will be closed. The project is expected to be completed by the start of the 2017 beach season.
Lincoln Woods is located in one of Rhode Island's most densely populated urban areas and is a popular retreat for Rhode Islanders and visitors to the state, offering fresh-water swimming, trout fishing, hiking, horseback riding, ice fishing, ice skating, and many other recreational opportunities. The park is teeming with walkers, joggers, and fishermen daily. Lincoln Woods was the first park acquired by the State of Rhode Island in 1909.
"Lincoln Woods continues to fulfill its seminal purpose of providing working families with a peaceful, inviting place to unwind," continued Coit. "Every year, the park welcomes visitors of all types - from avid hikers and runners to people gathering for a picnic with their family or seeking out a quiet refuge from nearby city life. It is a jewel among our natural areas in Rhode Island and unmatched in its appeal to a great diversity of people and activities. Our parks and beaches in Rhode Island are world-class destinations, and they are a special part of our social fabric. By continuing to invest in them, we ensure they will remain beautiful resources for generations to come."
For more information about Rhode Island state parks and other DEM divisions and programs, visit www.dem.ri.gov. Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RhodeIslandDEM or on Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM) for timely updates.