New project along Dexter Street brings green to Providence's West End

This spring, a coalition of local organizations planted 13 trees and 32 decorative shrubs and grasses along Dexter Street in the West End neighborhood of Providence, between Potters Avenue and Cranston Street. In order to plant the trees and plants, a total of 425 square feet of pavement was removed.

In addition, one of the tree pits includes two curb cut, which allows runoff from the street to flow directly into the tree pit and get absorbed by a special mix of soil, rocks, plants, and trees when it rains. That means less dirty stormwater going into our storm drains and less pollution for our rivers, ponds, and Narragansett Bay. Additional curb cuts are planned for later this fall.

This project is a demonstration of Nature At Work, a new effort being led by the Rhode Island Green Infrastructure Coalition to bring more green space to our cities and use nature to clean, protect, and cool our neighborhoods. Because of climate change, we are seeing increased heat impacts in our city, especially where there are fewer trees, as well as issues with flooding and polluted runoff in our neighborhoods.

Coalition partners also hope that these trees and plants offer other benefits to neighborhood residents, such as beauty, shade, and reduced stress, especially for kids walking to and from school along Dexter Street.

This project was funded by the Rhode Island Department of Health Climate Change Program, Brown University Swearer Center, and the City of Providence Health Equity Zone initiative. Partners also included: Groundwork Rhode Island, Clean Water Action, West Elmwood Housing Development Corporation, the City of Providence Department of Public Works and Department of Parks and Recreation Forestry Division, and the Steel Yard.

Groundwork Rhode Island (GWRI) will be maintaining the trees and plants over the first year after planting, and will be working with community partners to continue this maintenance over the long-term. GWRI job training participants and paid GroundCorp landscaping crew performed the installation, ongoing maintenance, and will continue additional installation this fall.

If you have any questions about the project, please contact or (401) 305-7174.

The Green Infrastructure Coalition is a collaborative of more than 40 non-profit organizations, businesses, and government agencies focused on using nature to reduce stormwater pollution. We develop projects to demonstrate the powerful role nature can play to create healthier urban environments. We promote policies to create sustainable funding for stormwater management and green infrastructure solutions. And we connect a wide range of partners to share lessons learned in the Providence Metro area and Aquidneck Island.
Amelia Rose is the Executive Director of Groundwork Rhode Island. GWRI is a member of the Rhode Island Green Infrastructure Coalition.
RI-GIC Website