East Providence officials hope to make Sabin Point Park ‘swimmable’ someday
EAST PROVIDENCE — The city of East Providence is putting the finishing touches on a stormwater management plan for Sabin Point Park, which will include construction of a large sand filter to improve water quality and allow the park to become a swimmable beach again someday.
Because of improvements to area treatment plants over the years, Upper Narragansett Bay is becoming cleaner. In fact, city officials say the water has become clean enough where Sabin Point Park could become a swimmable beach with some additional water quality treatment at the park itself.
The 4.6-acre city park, located at the end of Shore Road, juts out into the bay and is known for its waterfront views. The park has a playground, basketball courts, a pavilion, a fishing pier and walking paths.
But swimming hasn’t been allowed in the park for decades due to water quality impairments.
Right now, drainage pipes within the park do not drain properly and the water becomes stagnant. In addi- tion, heavy rains discharge the stagnant water into the bay and in the area of the existing beach, leading to elevated bacteria levels.
As part of the stormwater management plan drafted by ESS Group – an engineering and consulting group hired by the city with a $47,000 Bay and Watershed Restoration Fund grant – the city will use its own money and labor to construct a large sand filter adjacent to the parking area on the south side of the driveway as you enter the park.
The first step in a longterm effort that could eventually bring swimming back to Sabin Point, the city is hoping the sand filter will keep dirty runoff from polluting waters along the East Providence shoreline
In addition to the sand filtration, city is planning to use a $100,000 grant from the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission to conduct water quality monitoring and take on a second water quality project that will see perforated pipes placed along Locust and Willow streets to help reduce the flow of stormwater to the park. As in the case of the sand filter, the city will use its own labor and equipment.
Sabin Point Park, a shorefront oasis at the end of Shore Road in Riverside, shown here on Friday, is a quick getaway for fishermen, families enjoying a picnic, or a nice spot to just beat the summer heat.