Blackstone Parks Conservancy


The parks are looking better than ever–as many people tell the Blackstone Parks Conservancy. This is thanks to the Parks Department, which mows the Boulevard park and parts of the Conservation District, to the small number of volunteers who serve on the Conservancy’s board and three committees: Boulevard, Park, and Education, and to the volunteers who show up for special workdays. Donations are also crucial.


On the Boulevard

A new volunteer chairperson, landscape architect Colgate Searle, has stepped up to chair the Boulevard Committee, which had been headless for two years. Gale Aronson, who so brilliantly led that committee up to two years ago, has generously carried on producing the summer concerts in the meantime.

During the “wilderness years,” a few people from the Park Committee and the board pitched in to look after essentials on the Boulevard—new trees, gardens, winter moths, etc.—and it survived. But having a fulltime leader, a professional who thoroughly understands plants and drainage, will make a visible difference over time.

In late June the newly revived committee selected a few small pruning projects with City Forester Doug Still. For the rest of the summer these volunteers will be planning badly needed path improvements. With Colgate guiding the process it will be possible to assemble the necessary maps and figure out exactly what needs to be done where. This quest has been enormously complicated by a fire in the tool shed at Roger Williams Park that destroyed many records, but Colgate hopes to track some down here and there. He says the cost of resurveying and mapping the path would probably be beyond the city’s reach.

Different parts of the path will require different treatments. For instance, Colgate suspects that the puddles in some parts of the path result from having a clay material underneath that doesn’t allow drainage. His objective after assembling plans for repair at the least possible cost is to meet with the Parks Department to schedule upgrades over the next several years. At this point it will be clear how much fundraising will be called for.


In the Blackstone Park Conservation District

The Park Committee tried a new experiment in June, an early evening maintenance gathering called Park-Keeping. Happily, ten people showed up, some of them first-time volunteers, for what turned out to be a festive work session that accomplished quite a lot. Fence mending, chip spreading, needs assessment, clearing poison ivy that impinged on paths and clearing small invasives such as Norway maples took place in a short time.



The BPC is setting up a search for volunteers for the programs that the Education Committee has so successfully organized in the past. As soon as enough people sign up, hopefully this fall, the new Children’s Circle for small children will be officially opened.


Beside the River

A delightful place to cool off on a hot summer day is on a bench by York Pond and the Seekonk River. You may encounter an egret or heron, not to mention ducklings.


Jane Peterson

Summer Events


The Blackstone Parks Conservancy would love to see you at any or all of our summer events!

Park-Keeping Evening Wednesday, July 20, 6:00 – 7:30. Join us as we tackle knotweed shoots in Blackstone Park. Bring your work gloves and enjoy a light workout. Your help is welcome for a few minutes or the whole time. We will focus on the north section near the river.  Meet on the corner of Irving and River Road (aka River Drive), Providence, RI 02906.


In Concert with Nature Wednesday, July 27th, 6:00 – 7:30. Latin Jazz will play at this free concert at the Blackstone Boulevard Trolley Shelter. Picnics welcome (food trucks will be on hand too).
In Concert With Nature: free concerts at the Blackstone Boulevard Trolley Shelter:
Wednesday August 10th, 6:00 – 7:30, Miss Wensday and the Cotillions.
Wednesday August 24th, 6:00 – 7:30, Nickel Jukebox.

Theater in the Park, Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays August 5-21.  At Blackstone Field, across from the Narragansett Boat Club (2 River Road/aka River Drive, Providence, RI 02906). Time tbd.

Park-Keeping Evening, Wednesday August 3, 6:00 – 7:30. At Blackstone Park. Meeting location and project details will be finalized soon.

Please note: as these are weather-dependent outdoor events, please check our website for any last-minute changes.

For this series of child-oriented concerts, the Blackstone Paris Conservancy is joining forces with organizations from two neighboring parks, Friends of Gladys Potter Garden-Humboldt Playground and Friends of Patterson Park.

Summer Concerts 2016-revised

In Concert with Nature

Join us this summer at the Blackstone Boulevard Trolley Shelter for four free concerts sponsored by the Blackstone Parks Conservancy.
The Tish Adams Quintet (Jazz Plus), Wednesday, July 13th, 6:00 – 7:30 PM.

Latin Jazz, Wednesday, July 27th, 6:00 – 7:30 PM.

Miss Wensday and the Cotillions, Wednesday August 10th, 6:00 – 7:30 PM.

Nickel Jukebox (Motown), Wednesday August 24th, 6:00 – 7:30 PM.


Blackstone Boulevard Trolley Shelter, Blackstone Boulevard and Elmgrove Avenue, Providence, RI 02906.