Government

CRMC Approves First Stages of Construction of Pawtucket Waterfront Soccer Stadium

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Tidewater Landing, on the banks of the Seekonk River, would be one of the largest economic development projects in Pawtucket history. (City of Pawtucket rendering)

It was ayes all the way during the Oct. 19 meeting of Rhode Island’s Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC). The marquee item on the agenda was an application for the first components of Pawtucket’s Tidewater Landing project, the multiuse soccer stadium to be sited on the banks of the Seekonk River.

Project developers asked for the agency’s application fee to be waived. The town of Barrington also made an appearance on the agenda as it seeks to expand Walker Farm, a kayak launch on Hundred Acre Cove.

After 18 months, National Grid, the city of Pawtucket, and Fortuitous Partners, the public-private partnership behind Tidewater Landing, obtained CRMC approval for the first stages of construction. The project site is just off Taft Street, on land owned by National Grid that formerly manufactured gas. Developers plan to stabilize the river’s edge with a mix of riprap and CRMC-approved landscape treatments.

They have also made various public access additions to the application, with plans to put in some public parking, a river walk, and a public plaza on the site’s east side. The current plan includes a construction staging area to the north of the site, where another multiuse building will be built in the future pending CRMC approval.

Tidewater Landing project developers asked for 100 percent variance from the Metro Bay Special Area Management Plan. The site is currently home to polluted, isolated wetlands that CRMC staff engineer Richard Lucia described as having “little wildlife habitat, water quality or recreational functions at this point.”

Dan Kroeber, chief engineer on the project and director of development at Fortuitous Partners, also asked for the application fees to be waived entirely. Under advice of staff, the CRMC board voted to reduce the fee to $5,000, from $259,000.

“We see it as a real gem for the city of Pawtucket and Rhode Island,” Kroeber said.

Barrington town officials sought approval to add a new fishing pier, just north of an existing pier, that would require small amounts of fill at Walker Farm. The town was also seeking to add a new boat ramp, viewing platform, walking trails, access paths, and parking. The crumbing armored shoreline would be demolished, with project developers restoring wetlands on-site.

Other news
The state’s new freshwater wetlands regulations proposed by CRMC and the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) are scheduled to take effect in January. These regulations supersede all local ordinances regarding development around freshwater wetlands. Developers seeking to build within specific jurisdictions in the future would have to apply at DEM or CRMC for permission. Written comments can be submitted until Oct. 27 by emailing them to James Boyd at jboyd@crmc.ri.gov.

CRMC executive director Jeff Willis said the agency is expecting a busy 18 months ahead. Five offshore wind projects are up for review. Ørsted has two new wind project applications for Sunrise Wind and Revolution Wind. Vineyard Wind also has an application. However, the energy it will generate will only benefit Massachusetts. Two more wind projects, by Equinor and Mayflower Wind, are not being installed in Rhode Island waters but their external cables cross into CRMC’s geographic jurisdiction.

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