Planning & Community Development
Amaral Building Adaptive Reuse
In September 2022, the Town was awarded a $1 million Community Development Block Grant to rehabilitate the historic building at 16 Mill Street. Read more on Valley Breeze.
Northeast Collaborative Architects, hired with money granted from the RI Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission, determined in February 20022 that rehabilitation of the building will amount to an estimated $1.8 million. For the remaining cost, the Town is seeking another grant for community health centers and anticipates the use of monies allocated to the Town through the American Rescue Plan Act.
Originally constructed circa 1890 by the Valley Falls Company and formerly referred to as the Old Post Office, the Amaral Building behind Town Hall was likely intended to be used as a company store. In the years since, it has been used as a post office, a library, and a grocery store with an upstairs residence. View the National Register nomination for the Cumberland Town Hall Historic District, which includes more information about the building.
The Town will establish an Office of Community Based Health and Engagement (OCBHE) within the Amaral Building as an outlet wherein various local organizations - including Cumberland’s all paramedic-level EMS Department, the Blackstone Valley Advocacy Center, and the Northern Rhode Island Food Pantry - can provide services in the heart of Valley Falls among some of Cumberland’s most underserved populations.
Broad Street - Regeneration & Economic Development Plan
The Broad Street Regeneration Initiative is a partnership between Cumberland, Central Falls, Pawtucket, RIDOT, the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council, the Rhode Island Foundation and a number of other private and public organizations, focusing on maximizing best design practices and economic development opportunities for the $18.2M road reconstruction project scheduled to be completed Summer 2023. See the Rhode Island Department of Transportation website for more information.
The RI Commerce Corporation has awarded the Town $100,000 to develop an Economic and Social Equity Development Plan for Valley Falls/Lonsdale (“VFL”). Consultant 4Ward is performing research and reaching out to Broad Street businesses and local cultural organizations to develop a plan to provide incentives for reviving investment in economic development.
Information about public meetings and an overview of 4Ward’s work can be found on the Valley Falls and Lonsdale Economic Revitalization and Social Equity Plan page.
New Pond Park
Widely recognized as the birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution, the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor was established by Congress in 1986. Just a few years earlier in 1983, the Environmental Protection Agency placed 920 acres within it, including the proposed New Pond Park site, on its National Priorities List.
In May of 2020, the Town Council adopted the New Pond Park Conservation and Management Plan (PDF). It includes further exposition on the history of the site and detailed plans for remediation.
Ultimately, after the site has been remediated and capped, the Town aims to have a 62-acre park alongside the Blackstone River that includes trails, paved walkways, connection to the Blackstone River Bikeway, enhanced river access, and other recreation amenities.
Tree Grants & Interactive Tree Equity Score Mapping
The Town is the recent recipient of two major tree-planting grants targeted at areas subject to excessive heat and unfiltered stormwater runoff. The RI Infrastructure Bank is providing $250,000 to plant 200 street trees in Valley Falls and Lonsdale. A National Forest Service grant in cooperation with Providence, Woonsocket, Groundwork Rhode Island and Clark University will allow for the planting of another 200 trees.
The Town of Cumberland is partnering with American Forests to raise awareness of the relationship between the number of street trees in urbanized areas and social equity, public health, economic development, impacts on our rivers and streams, and quality of life.
Access Cumberland’s Tree Equity Score Analyzer (TESA) GIS map that shows the tree canopy throughout the Town. It is interactive- you can plant new trees to increase the TESA score, street by street, neighborhood by neighborhood. It is engaging and eye-opening to the value of trees in our community.