EAST PROVIDENCE — Interim City Manager Paul E. Lemont and Ward 2 Councilman Helder Cunha announced Tuesday night, May 20, the city had been awarded $125,000 from the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management Local Recreation Grant program for improvements to the Onna Moniz-John Neighborhood Park/Central Avenue Playground. The pair did so during the City Council meeting at City Hall.
Improvements to be implemented at the park located in the center of the city include vandal-resistant LED lighting along the walkways and basketball courts, resurfacing the basketball courts, replacing the existing picnic tables and installing a play structure, chess tables and a 10,000 square foot skate park/ramp.
The K-Rob Foundation, a local community based organization with a mission to positively transform the lives of children in the East Bay and surrounding communities, will assist the City in the design of the skate park/ramp and will contribute $25,000 towards the materials and installation.
“The grant provides us with a chance to get the community involved in remaking Central Park,” Councilman Cunha said. “This is their park and I would love to hear their ideas in how we can make it a safer and enjoyable place for families.”
Councilman Cunha and At-Large Councilman Tracy Capobianco along with the East Providence Police Department, Public Works Department and Planning Department have been working closely with the residents of the immediate neighborhood and representatives of the Red Bridge Neighborhood Association to solicit ideas for improvements to the park that will increase the usage of the park for persons of all ages while discouraging vandalism and loitering.
The $125,000 DEM grant will be matched by an additional $125,000 of combined City funds, in-kind contributions and a donation from the K-Rob Foundation for a total project cost of $250,000.
A public meeting to formulate additional ideas and comments will take place during the summer of 2014 and the improvements will be installed during the fall of 2014.