Watchemoket Square plans announced in East Providence

The City of East Providence announced steps toward advancing the development of the City’s waterfront and planning for district enhancements in the form of branding and placemaking of the district, with way finding, public art, street scape enhancements and related multi-modal improvements to serve to enhance, unify and support the overall viability of the waterfront district. The announcement was made on a 58-minute public Zoom session on February 17, 2021.


For over 10,000 years the shores of upper Narragansett Bay have been a place where Native Americans found bountiful resources. The Algonquian people, who were later regionally known as Pokonoket Tribe, occupied a vast region of land from south of present-day Boston to Bristol, RI, and from Plymouth MA to present day Providence RI. The area had fertile soil, abundant wildlife and ready access to fresh and salt water was known by those inhabitants as Sowams or “South Country.”


Mayor Bob DaSilva hosted the Zoom session with Communications Director Patricia Resende, Chief Planner Jim Moran, Planning Director William Fazioli, BETA Group Lead Planner Arek Galle, and Waterfront Commission Director Chris Martin. In a January 2020 public forum, Pokanoket Tribe Sagamore William ‘Winds of Thunder” Guy spoke of the significance of this area and what the resources meant to the people living in the area prior to English settlement in the 17th century.


For nearly 400 years commercialization and industry grew exponentially along the shoreline, effectively erasing much of the natural resources concentrated in the area. However, the last 20 years have seen a contraction of growth and a gradual reversal and change in land use. The announced plan will make enhancements to the area that will include new signage, improved traffic flow, new sidewalks, new links to the East Bay Bicycle Path, and kayak and boat launch facilities.