WARWICK, RI — It took a few years, but on Saturday the kids at Salter Grove Park climbed to new heights atop a tall rope climbing gym, centered in a rebuilt park with an accessible path, new benches and playground equipment.
The park also boasts several plantings carefully labeled for nature enthusiasts and local school nature walks.
The improvements were funded by two grants. The Rhode Island Foundation awarded a $10,000 Community Grant, administered through FoSG’s fiscal sponsor, The New England Grassroots Environment Fund. The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management also awarded a $100,000 community recreation grant for the project to the City of Warwick.
“This has been one of the most successful community projects that we’ve been part of,” said Rep. Joseph McNamara, (D-Dist. 19) who worked with members of FoSG to secure funding for the improvements with RIDEM and City help.
McNamara and FoSG began working together to make improvements to the park in 2016.
To address safety concerns near the park, RIDOT installed a new guardrail. A trust with an initial $5,000 donation was also started by Brenda Dziedic to help contribute to the purchase of picnic tables, as well as a new bike rack, according to Mayor Joseph J. Solomon, who cut the ribbon at Saturday’s ceremony.
Peter Becker, coordinator of Friends of Salter Grove, thanked the officials and volunteers who helped make the project a success. He also urged the public to treat the new space with respect and to warn people away from spray-painting the rocks or failing to clear trash during their visits to the new site.
Becker said FoSG will next start work on a mobile-friendly website for the park.
Martin Wickenden and his grandson, David, 6, appeared to be enjoying the fruits of the grants and volunteer labor as the former watched the latter venture partway up the rope climb.
“We sure are,” Wickenden said.
Angie Howard McParland and her son, Eamon, 3, costumed as Toy Story characters Jessie and Buzz Lightyear, respectively, were enjoying the new space and pleasant weather.
The new park is a big improvement, Angie said.
“There was just nothing here,” beforehand, she said, besides a broken swing set.
“They did an outstanding job,” McNamara said.
Also attending the event were Warwick City Council members Anthony Sinapi, Donna Travis and Richard Corley, James Scott, Warwick Parks and Recreation director, and Sen. Michael J. McCaffrey, (D-Dist. 29).