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The following is an extensive, though not comprehensive, compilation of projects the Commission has undertaken in partnership with a broad range of organizations, individuals, and local, state and federal agencies, or on its own in order to fulfill its legislated mandate.  Projects were, and continue to be selected based on the established policies, actions and strategies for the priority areas as set forth in the Cultural Heritage and Land Management Plan for the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor.  The corresponding guiding policies, actions and strategies are given for each program area followed by a listing of individual projects and/or initiatives.

Land Use Planning

The Commission and its partners will seek to identify or provide incentives, adopt plans, and enact ordinances that preserve open space and the Blackstone River Valley character, manifested through such distinctive features as mill villages, rural landscapes, country lanes, etc., and that encourage development consistent with that objective.

Actions and Strategies:
§ Integrate Corridor Cultural Heritage and Land Management Plan into existing state and regional planning
§ Provide information to the public about good land use practices
§ Identify and inventory Corridor resources and conditions
§ Enhance the character of the Valley

Communities, civic groups and individuals struggle with the need to provide solid infrastructures and economic growth while retaining the special characteristics of their village centers, main streets, hilltop settlements, and river corridors.  The Commission assists with these efforts by providing professional assistance through public workshops to develop comprehensive plans that meet these needs and align with Corridor goals.

§ Blackstone - Main Street Revitalization Plan
§ Burrillville - Harrisville Revitalization Plan
§ Douglas - Downtown Design Plan
§ Glocester - Chepachet Village Plan
§ Leicester - Master Plan
§ Lincoln - Limerock Village Land Use Plan
§ Mendon Land Use Plan
§ Millbury - Downtown Improvement Initiative
§ Millville - Riverfront Redevelopment Plan
§ Northbridge - Whitinsville Streetscaping
§ Pawtucket Downtown Circulation Design
§ Smithfield Greenspace Forum      
§ Sutton - Historic Landscape Plan
§ Uxbridge - Downtown Revitalization Plan
§ Uxbridge - Stanley Woolen Mill/Uxbridge - Brownfield Redevelopment
§ Whitinsville - Historic Foundry Building Redevelopment
§ Woonsocket Historic Overlay District
§ Worcester - Quinsigamond Village Revitalization Plan

In addition to individual community plans, the Commission has undertaken special studies and developed a variety of regional plans that serve to strengthen regional planning efforts.

§ Heritage Corridor Plan Amendment - "The Next Ten Years"
§ Economic Survey and Impact      
§ Natural Resource Inventory (appendix to 10-Year Plan)      
§ Land Use Planning Manual      
§ Urban Environmental Design Manual      
§ Economic Development Conference      
A key component of the Commission's preservation strategy is the development of the Blackstone Valley Institute as a venue for educational outreach programs that offer ongoing workshops and courses designed to address key issues facing the Valley.  The Institute offers local leaders, organizations and interested citizens both a forum to discuss topics of interest or concern and a practical means to find solutions to local issues.

§ Growth Management - Seminars to provide latest data and techniques
§ Leadership Blackstone Valley - Annual training for community leaders
§ See the Forest Program
§ Institute Seminar Series
§ Brownfields Conference
§ Preservation Workshops
§ Route 146 Corridor Visioning - Workshop to explore development issues
§ Community Visions - Conceptual designs for village centers and key historic locations
§ Four-Town Initiative - Planning collaborative to address common issues
§ Super Summit - Build-out Analysis for each Blackstone Valley Community depicting current zoning

Interpretation and Education

Much of what is considered natural along the Blackstone River is, in fact, "cultural."  Interpretation activities that pull together many elements will be emphasized.  Integrated approaches in communication will be emphasized as well, and the Commission will find ways to encourage Valley interpreters to share ideas.

Actions and Strategies:
§ Seek the development of museums/information centers in Pawtucket, Woonsocket, Uxbridge and Worcester
§ Develop consistent, Corridor-wide interpretation program
§ Design and develop permanent, traveling, and wayside interpretive exhibits
§ Sponsor ongoing historical research and publication
§ Develop a sign program for the Corridor
§ Design, produce and distribute interpretive materials - such as maps, guidebooks and brochures - that describe the historic, cultural, natural and recreation resources of the Corridor
§ Co-sponsor community interpretive-related programs and activities
§ Train volunteer interpreters
§ Establish a central repository of Valley historical documentation, such as maps, studies, photographs, papers, and oral histories
§ Develop school programs to communicate the history and significance of the Blackstone Valley
§ Encourage the establishment of festivals for the celebration of art and culture in the Corridor
§ Encourage local initiatives consistent with Corridor goals

The linear nature of the Heritage Corridor requires the development of a "critical mass" of visitor sites, programs and services which will draw people to the Valley and engage a diversity of interests in the textile heritage theme.  A targeted investment in these core sites, programs, and services will be the Corridor Commission's physical legacy for the future.

§ Worcester: Northern Gateway Project - Development of northern terminus visitor center in Worcester - planning underway
§ Pawtucket: Blackstone Valley Visitor Center - Development of southern terminus visitor center in Pawtucket - open
§ Woonsocket: Museum of Work & Culture - Development of visitor center in Woonsocket - open
§ Uxbridge: River Bend Farm & Visitor Center - Development of visitor center in Uxbridge - open
§ Worcester: Broad Meadow Brook Wildlife Sanctuary - Support for interim visitor center facility, Worcester
§ Grafton: Willard House & Clock Museum - Support for historic museum that provides visitor services
§ Lincoln: Kelly House & Canal Museum - Development of exhibits on transportation themes and support visitor services along the Blackstone River Bikeway, and the Blackstone River and Canal
§ Visitor Center Collaborative - Network of heritage sites to provide consistent and integrated visitor services and information
§ Tourism Development - Bi-state collaborative to integrate tourism related initiatives   
§ Corridor Signage, Exhibits and Identity System - Consistent signage program for village centers, historic sites, bikeway, riverway, visitor services and interpretation
§ Corridor Information and Communication Program - Development of interpretive and educational publications that include brochures, newsletters, web pages, etc.

The celebration and understanding of the Blackstone Valley's cultural legacy through education, festivals and events, coordinated activities among sites, and through the traditional arts, complements the physical infrastructure being developed.  Heritage-related programming accommodates a variety of ongoing and new initiatives.

§ Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce School Program - "Blackstone Valley on the Move"
§ Community Interpretation - focused interpretive activities in historic village centers of Hopedale, Slatersville and Whitinsville
§ Slater Mill Cultural and Interpretive Programming       
§ Blackstone River Theatre Cultural Arts Education and Performances       
§ Living History Events and Re-enactments such as Settlers Days   
§ Moffett Mill Interpretive Exhibits on early mill construction and operations
§ Valley Falls Heritage Park - Interpretation of water power for manufacturing
§ Blackstone Valley Explorer Boat - Support for 49-passenger floating classroom
§ Central Falls Interpretive Material - Interpretive brochure of historic structures and sites
§ Cumberland Company Theatre Group - Development of Blackstone Valley interpretive play
§ Grafton Oral History - Recording of oral histories of mill workers
§ River Bend Farm - Concerts Along the Canal
§ Heritage Harbor Museum - P&W Railroad Interpretive Exhibit
§ Pawtucket Preservation Society - Historic District Architecture Brochure
§ Explore & Discover Museum Exhibits - Interactive exhibits for children of all ages
§ Corridor Interpretive Plan
§ Along the Blackstone Cable TV Series - Interpretive & educational programming
§ Ranger Activities, Services and Educational Programs, including lecture series, interpretive walks and talks, river activities, environmental education and river clean-ups, and school programs
§ Paddle Club - Seasonal paddling club to develop river stewards
§ Special Events - support for cultural festivals and events       
§ Volunteer In Parks - development of volunteer corps and coordination of individual site volunteer activities

Historic Preservation

With its partners, the Commission will work to protect significant buildings, mill villages, districts, and the integrity of town, city and rural areas.  The Commission will recognize and champion good restoration efforts and good design review procedures to encourage compatibly designed infill projects, and provide good maintenance and other information to the public.

Actions and Strategies:
§ Continue to inventory historical and archaeological resources, as a first step in safeguarding them
§ Preserve key historic districts, properties, and sites that define the character of the Blackstone River Valley
§ Provide professional planning assistance to Corridor towns and cities
§ Provide information to the public about available professional assistance, grants and guidelines for historic preservation, restoration, and maintenance

The Commission has been tasked with the responsibility not only for interpreting, but for identifying and preserving the historic, natural and cultural resources in the Valley that enhance the public's understanding of the American Industrial Revolution.  The Commission's funds are targeted strategically to provide improvements to special places of interpretive value.

§ Blackstone - BV Boys & Girls Club- Restore Mill into Education Ctr.
§ Blackstone Federated Church - Stabilization and restoration of 18thc structure
§ Blackstone Grange - Investigation of structure and history
§ Blackstone - Daniel's Farm
§ Douglas - Old Douglas Common
§ Douglas  - E.N. Jenckes Store
§ Glocester - Chepachet River Park
§ Grafton - Fisherville Mill Redevelopment
§ Grafton - Hassanamesitt Woods Preservation - site of 17thc Native American Praying Village
§ Grafton Fire House Research and Restoration
§ Hopedale - Little Red Shop - Historic structures report and management plan
§ Hopedale - Draper Mill Complex - Adaptive Re-use Study
§ Leicester - Towtaid Park
§ Lincoln - Hearthside Mansion Historic Structures Report
§ Lincoln - Valentine Whitman House Historic Structures Report
§ Lincoln - Moffett Mill HSR & Restoration, Installation and interpretation of original machinery and artifacts
§ Lincoln - Great Road Historic District - Master Plan for interpretation of historic sites along historic road that developed from Native American trail to modern roadway
§ Millville - Chestnut Hill Meeting House preservation, restoration and interpretation
§ Northbridge - Whitin Machine Shop - Preservation and interpretation
§ Northbridge - Whitin Park Preservation of historic site and development of interpretive signs and brochure
§ Northbridge - Whitinsville Community Center - Architectural Services and Restoration
§ North Smithfield - Slatersville Mill, first planned mill village in America
§ Pawtucket - Slater Mill Historic Site HABS/HAER Survey and Reports
§ Pawtucket Armory - Restoration and re-use
§ Sutton - Marions Camp
§ Sutton - Waters Farm Research, Restoration, Master Plan, Barn Restoration, and Interpretation
§ Sutton - Hancock- Hull House Historic structures report
§ Uxbridge Common - Preservation of New England Common and historical markers
§ Uxbridge - Farnum House Museum Restoration
§ Uxbridge Inn - Preservation, restoration and re-use
§ Upton - Historic Resources Inventory
§ Woonsocket - Stadium Theatre Restoration
§ Woonsocket: Providence & Worcester Train Depot, - Preservation and interpretation
§ Woonsocket: Archaeology in the Blackstone Valley - Discovering Woonsocket's past
§ Woonsocket - Cultural Resource Survey of Elder Ballou Meeting House Road
§ Worcester - Quinsigamond School - Preservation and re-use

§ Mill Inventory & Conference
§ Blackstone Canal Preservation - ongoing restoration and interpretation
§ Waterways Photographic Exhibit - Salvatore Mancini

River Recovery and Recreational Development

Conservation actions will focus on Corridor-wide protection of water resources… to enable Valley residents to take full advantage of the recreational opportunities on and along the river.  The Commission will support greater public access to and use of the river-canal-towpath area… The Commission will work through state DEMs and other appropriate state agencies to fund and implement these activities, and will seek the help of interested non-profit groups, the business community and civic institutions to complement and supplement state actions plans.

Actions and Strategies:
§ Improve the water quality of the Blackstone River
§ Identify natural sites that are threatened, in need of action or assistance, and/or important to the completion or enhancement of state heritage parks.
§ Protect open space within the Corridor
§ Support state, local, private and individual efforts to enhance the environment
§ Complete or enhance state and local parks and forests within the Corridor
§ Implement construction, maintenance and landscaping projects that provide greater public use and access to the river
§ Produce recreation publications
§ Endorse special events and activities that are consistent and compatible with Corridor goals

The impacts of the industrial revolution on the river system were extensive, leading today to both challenges and opportunities.  The Commission focuses on education, support for recovery programs at the various governmental and grassroots levels, and opportunities for the River to become a vital part of community and economic revitalization.

§ Blackstone Gorge Bi-State Park development that includes parking, trails, overlook and river access
§ River Access Program - Development of a series of portages and access sites for boating
§ Pawtucket Riverfront - Plan to incorporate river-related activities with shopping, restaurants, businesses and recreation
§ Woonsocket Riverfront & Costa Park
§ Trail Development - Coordination of parks and trails to create a greenway/riverway system     
§ Bikeway Advocacy - Coordination of bi-state Blackstone River Bikeway development
§ BR Conservation Alliance - Coordination of conservation efforts Valley-wide
§ BR Coalition - Coordination of watershed-wide activities with local, state and federal agencies
§ Water Quality Testing - Citizen corps of river stewards to monitor the health of the river
§ Lonsdale Marsh Restoration - Conversion of derelict drive-in to marsh conservation area
§ Anadromous Fish Restoration/Fish Ladders - Development of fish passages on lower 4 dams to allow migratory passage to Lonsdale Marsh spawning grounds
§ Pollution Prevention Program - Educational program for homeowners on environmentally safe alternatives to household cleaners, fertilizers and pesticides
§ Storm Drain Stenciling - Educational program to minimize pollution from stormdrains
§ River Cleanups - Annual trash removal from river and riverbanks
§ Clean Water Festival - Environmental awareness festival
§ Greenway Challenge - Annual Eco-challenge to bring awareness to River and Bikeway
§ Expedition 2000 - Four-day canoe trip down Blackstone River to highlight issues
§ Project ZAP- Multiple efforts to clean up the river
§ BR Watershed Education - High school program to integrate watershed across disciplines
§ Blackstone Valley Explorer - 49 passenger educational tour boat
§ Central Falls Landing - Public river access site
§ Fishable/Swimmable 2015 - Campaign to restore the health of the Blackstone River