Congressional Action Expands Blackstone Heritage Corridor
The U.S. Congress has passed legislation to expand the John H. Chafee Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor. The region of national significance will now include the town of Auburn, MA, and a larger portion of the city of Providence, RI. The legislation also reauthorizes the Blackstone Heritage Corridor for six additional years of federal funding, a boost to its continuing work to tell the story of the birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution and restore the environment of the Blackstone River.
First designated as a National Heritage Corridor in 1986, the region was the first place to experience widespread use of water power in the United States and the first religiously and ethnically diverse area of New England. The Blackstone Heritage Corridor will now link 25 communities within the Blackstone River watershed from Providence, RI, to Worcester, MA, an area exceeding 720 square miles.
“The Blackstone Valley is an interconnected system of waterways and wetlands that are being reclaimed for their natural beauty, wildlife and recreational opportunities,” commented Charlene Perkins Cutler, executive director of Blackstone Heritage Corridor, Inc. “It is also a remarkably intact landscape of industrial history, immigration and diversity. Our organization is committed to the long term vitality of this special place.”
Blackstone Heritage Corridor, Inc. is the nonprofit management entity for the National Heritage Corridor. Its staff, volunteers and partners work together on regionally important projects, some of which include river restoration, the bi-state Blackstone River Valley Bikeway, historic preservation, way-finding and economic development.
Donna Williams, the chairperson of Blackstone Heritage Corridor, Inc. and a resident of Grafton, MA, noted that “the expansion of the Blackstone Heritage Corridor to include Auburn and more of Providence rightfully fills in the missing links in our boundary. Both communities are vital parts of the watershed and of our history and they complete the story we have to tell. We are truly grateful for Congress's vote of confidence in our work to reauthorize us to 2021. Now the sky's the limit as to what more we can accomplish with our valued partners throughout the Corridor.”
For more information or to volunteer and work on projects for the National Heritage Corridor, please call 401-762-0250, ext. 5101