WASHINGTON – U.S. Congressman David N. Cicilline (D-RI), who led the effort in the U.S. House to establish the Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park, is advocating for $932,000 to fully fund the Park’s operations in FY2017. Cicilline was joined in a letter to House appropriators by Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI), Congressman James McGovern (D-MA), and Congressman Joe Kennedy (D-MA), whose districts comprise the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor.
“The Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park will ensure that the birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution is preserved for future generations,” said Cicilline. “I was proud to lead the effort in the U.S. House to establish this new National Park in 2014. I look forward to working further to ensure the Park receives the federal funding necessary to support operations next year.”
Last December, Cicilline helped secure $927,000 in the FY2016 federal funding bill to support the Park’s operations, including a cooperative agreement managed by the National Park Service and the Blackstone Heritage Corridor, Inc. to fund programs and activities. Once opened, the Park will include the Blackstone River State Park in Lincoln, the Old Slater Mill National Historic Landmark District in Pawtucket, the Slatersville Historic District in North Smithfield, the Ashton Historic District in Cumberland, the Whitinsville Historic District in Northbridge, the Hopedale Village Historic District, the Blackstone River, and the Blackstone Canal.
In 2014, Cicilline introduced – and the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources later approved – the Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park Establishment Act (H.R. 706). The legislation was later included as part of the National Defense Authorization Act that President Obama signed into law in December 2014.
The Blackstone River Valley National Park is comprised of sites and districts in both Rhode Island and Massachusetts including the Blackstone River and its tributaries; the Blackstone Canal; the non-contiguous nationally significant historic districts of Old Slater Mill in Pawtucket; the villages of Slatersville (in North Smithfield) and Ashton (in Cumberland) Rhode Island; and Whitinsville and Hopedale in Massachusetts.
Spanning from Worcester, MA to Providence, RI, the Blackstone River Valley is the Birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution. The Valley’s beauty and history embodies a landscape rich in natural, historic, and cultural treasures. The new Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park will help preserve these icons of industry, environment, and history for generations to come.