Spring brings life to Knightsville revitalization

Posted 3/27/24

With the coming of spring, Knightsville’s beautification is underway once again. Branching out from Itri Park, phase two of the neighborhood’s revitalization project will stretch into the …

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Spring brings life to Knightsville revitalization


With the coming of spring, Knightsville’s beautification is underway once again. Branching out from Itri Park, phase two of the neighborhood’s revitalization project will stretch into the surrounding streets and businesses.

Mayor Kenneth Hopkins, who has made the Knightsville Project one of the priorities of his administration, spoke on Monday, March 25 from the Gazebo at Itri Park about what he envisions the neighborhood to become next December, when phase two is expected to be complete. 

“The area will come alive as a must visit destination with an economic corridor to be enjoyed by residents and visitors to our restaurants and businesses,” Hopkins said.

Work officially began that same day, with workers from Northeast Tree busy cutting trees to be replaced as the project progresses.

Phase two of the rehabilitation project will extend down Cranston Street, from Vervena Street north up to the Randall Street Intersection. It will include part of Phenix Ave as well, running from the end of Itri Park, across Park Avenue and east towards Southern Street.

“Our plans include sidewalk bump out areas to allow enhanced outside dining experiences to be enjoyed at Knightsville’s spectacular local restaurants,” Hopkins said. He said street lights and park benches resembling those used in Itri Park will line all the streets impacted by the project.

The contract for the phase two project, totaling $3.2 million, was granted to the lowest qualified bidder this week by the Cranston Board of Contract and Purchases to Narragansett Improvement, a Providence based contracting company.

Funding for phase two will come largely from the city of Cranston’s capital budget for 2024-2025, in total of $2.5 million. Additional funds have been provided by the US HUD Community Project Funding totaling $500,000 and from the Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank, totalling $300,000.

The Knightsville Revitalization project has been ongoing since 2021, with phase 1 completed in July 2023 with the opening of Itri Park. Since then, Hopkins has worked with Chris Paplauskas, who represents Knightsville as the Ward 5 councilman, and Councilwoman Nicole Renzulli, to keep Itri Park busy with new programming.

“We will have concerts out here,” Hopkins said. “We've already scheduled a couple of opera nights on the weekends, through the efforts of Councilman Paplauskas and Councilwoman Renzulli. We have had movies in the mark for the kids. And we also have our famous St. Mary's festival to look forward to, as well as our police department, when they ran their Spring Festival.”

Work on Knightsville’s third and final revitalization phase will begin in 2025. Hopkins explained that the work will extend the streetscape improvements from Randal Street north towards Dyer Avenue, and past St. Mary’s Church. Hopkins said $2.8 million from next fiscal year’s capital budget will be earmarked for the project. Hopkins and Councilman Paplauskas both expressed their gratefulness to the Governor McKee, the congressional delegation, and especially Senator Jack Reed, who Hopkins said has secured $1,950,000 in federal funding for the project.

“I just want to thank the congressional delegation, and Governor McKee for their input,” Councilman Paplauskas said. “They're helping make this possible as well with their resources and backing.”

When the project is complete, Hopkins hopes Knightsville will be a place for people across the city, state, and beyond to enjoy.

“This is going to be a destination for an awful lot of people in New England,” Hopkins said. “Specifically here in the city of Cranston, but people from Rhode Island are going to come to Cranston and use this economic corridor to go to all our fine restaurants and businesses.”

Knightsville, Itri, revitalization


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