East Providence gets grant funding to help open Sabin Point Beach

Attorney General’s office earmarks $850,000 towards continued shoreline upgrades

By Mike Rego
Posted 12/12/18

EAST PROVIDENCE — The City of East Providence will be the beneficiary of a recent legal settlement garnered by the office of Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin to the tune of $850,000, it was …

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East Providence gets grant funding to help open Sabin Point Beach

Attorney General’s office earmarks $850,000 towards continued shoreline upgrades

Posted

EAST PROVIDENCE — The City of East Providence will be the beneficiary of a recent legal settlement garnered by the office of Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin to the tune of $850,000, it was announced late Wednesday afternoon, Dec. 12.

Attorney General Kilmartin readied the release of $4.1 million in funding for a variety of environmentally beneficial projects across the state. The monies were derived from an agreement with Volkswagen to compensate the for the selling and leasing of diesel vehicles equipped with illegal and undisclosed emissions control defeat device software in violation of Rhode Island General Law.

The monies the city will receive are earmarked for a stormwater system remediation project as part of the long-standing effort to eventually re-open waters off Sabin Point Beach to swimming and other recreational activities.

It was noted in Mr. Kilmartin’s release the beach has been closed for decades due to chronic water pollution in the upper reaches of Narragansett Bay.

However, due to the efforts of the city and Save the Bay in recent years, the water quality has improved to a point where this beach could be re-opened if localized storm water issues are remediated. This project would partner with the city, Save the Bay and the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management to undertake the remaining remedial work to improve storm water runoff water quality necessary to potentially re-opening the beach.

“The significant amount of VW funds awarded make a complete stormwater retrofit of Sabin Point Park a reality,” Acting City Manager/East Providence Police Chief Christopher Parella said. “Without these funds, project implementation would have been incremental and subject to intermittent grant funding typically requiring our city to match funds over an unknown length of time. We now have a real opportunity to return a swimmable beach to the citizens of East Providence in the not too distant future, which is an incredible and historic accomplishment. The city greatly appreciates the support of all who have collaborated with us on this end goal.”

East Providence Public Works Director Steve Coutu noted his department with the aid of the state and Save the Bay has done quite a bit of work in the Sabin Point neighborhood in recent years to address the water quality situation there.

“We’ve been chipping away at it for a while,” Mr. Coutu said. “We’ve come up with a master storm water plan. We built the retention area in the parking lot of the park last year and we installed the underground filtration system on Willow Street this year. And we did in-house, with all Public Works personnel.”

The Attorney General’s announcement recognized the historic nature of the area. Sabin Point Park has long been a favorite spot of residents.The East Bay Bicycle Path is a short distance from the park as is the landmark Crescent Park Looff Carousel. Of note as well, if it comes to pass, Sabin Point Beach would be the first to re-open for swimming in the Upper Bay in “generations and act as a tangible testament to the success of the ongoing restoration of Narragansett Bay.”

“This is a tremendous opportunity for city to get funding like that can be used to address longstanding issue,” Mr. Coutu added.

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Mike Rego

Mike Rego has worked at East Bay Newspapers since 2001, helping the company launch The Westport Shorelines. He soon after became a Sports Editor, spending the next 10-plus years in that role before taking over as editor of The East Providence Post in February of 2012. To contact Mike about The Post or to submit information, suggest story ideas or photo opportunities, etc. in East Providence, email mrego@eastbaymediagroup.com.