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State of Rhode Island General Assembly
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World War II park, Woonsocket schools receive aid in House-approved FY2015 budget
STATE HOUSE – With the House’s passage of the Fiscal Year 2015 budget, the Woonsocket delegation praised the inclusion of additional school aid and support to rebuild and maintain the World War II Veterans Memorial State Park.
World War II Veterans Memorial State Park is due to be renovated sometime after July of this year. The state budget includes $2.6 million for the state Department of Environmental Management budget to revitalize the park with the addition of a splash park, which will serve as a major attraction for children in the summer time. With the commitment of additional $1.25 million spread over five years beginning in the Fiscal Year 2015 budget, the state will be able to turn the land over to the city so it can take charge of its maintenance.
The park has long served as a site for the city’s Autumnfest, a longstanding tradition which includes a celebration of the fall season with a special parade, musical performances, street vendors, arts and crafts tents, and other community activities.
“Mayor Lisa Baldelli Hunt worked very hard as a member of the General Assembly to make sure that park received support from the state, and I’m pleased that as a delegation we were able to reach an agreement that will not allow the continued neglect of World War II Park,” said Rep. Stephen M. Casey (D-Dist. 50, Woonsocket). “The longer that park remains dormant, the longer it will take for us to make headway on revitalizing that area. There’s a dire need for a space that can serve as a recreational area for children and families, especially to escape the summer heat in the city.”
Rep. Robert D. Phillips (D-Dist. 51, Woonsocket, Cumberland) touched upon the additional aid for Woonsocket schools, which will help bring the city’s programs up to par with other urban educational institutions.
“For years, our public schools have faced challenges unique to Woonsocket,” Representative Phillips said. “Woonsocket is a transient city filled with kids who may not come into our system fully speaking English. I love that we are such a diverse community, but that also presents challenges. These challenges can be mitigated with special education and ESL programs to support our student population, and I am pleased that we finally have the resources to implement these measures.”
The House budget calls for $50.7 million in school funding aid for Fiscal Year 2015. That number represents a $2.7 million increase over the Fiscal Year 2014 allocation.
Rep. Michael A. Morin (D-Dist. 49, Woonsocket) – the newest member of the delegation – thanked his colleagues in the House for their gracious support.
“As a private citizen and a fire fighter in the city, I have watched over the years as the park has become an eyesore,” Representative Morin said. “For a struggling city, a revitalized park could do a lot of good for the residents. I’d like to see it become a safe place where people can enjoy themselves again. It goes without saying that the education aid means a lot to our schools. I want to personally thank leadership and my fellow state representatives for recognizing Woonsocket has some unique needs which must be addressed. Lawmakers have a lot of tough decisions, but the action taken tonight demonstrates our commitment to investing in our communities.”
For more information, contact:
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903
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