Blackstone Gateway Park is located approximately three miles south of the Worcester Downtown Business District on the edge of the Quinsigamond Village neighborhood. Currently under construction, the park will feature 3,000 linear feet (approximately one half mile) of accessible walking paths, elevated boardwalks and three bridges crossing the headwaters of the Blackstone River along McKeon Road. Included along the trails and boardwalks are observational platforms, kiosks, and interpretive signage providing historical and ecological information about the Blackstone River and the role it played in the history of Worcester and the Blackstone Valley Corridor.
This new riverfront park will stand out as a unique urban park in the City providing recreational amenities while maintaining the feel of a forested park surrounded by flowing water and stands of large canopy trees. The project will also incorporate public art through functional art that references the area’s industrial legacy, which includes wire and cable manufacturing and the Blackstone Canal.
The Blackstone Heritage Corridor Visitor Center will be a full service, multi-use facility, featuring a welcoming area, historic and cultural exhibits, a theater, restroom facilities, an adjacent passive recreation lawn and office, classroom and function space. The Blackstone Heritage Corridor Visitor Center will provide an opportunity for tourists, families, and recreational enthusiasts to explore the Worcester region’s cultural organizations, eateries, and businesses. It will truly be a premier learning laboratory for history, science, arts, and nature. The first phase of construction has been completed, with the second and final phase starting in the spring of 2017. The Center will be open in the summer of 2018.
The Blackstone Heritage Corridor Visitor Center also will house the Central Region Headquarters for the MA Department of Conservation and Recreation. As such, it will offer a regional launching point for the exploration of the state park system in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, as well as the Blackstone River Bikeway and Mass. Audubon Broad Meadow Brook Wildlife Sanctuary. It will also serve as a connecting hub for the newly created Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park. As a convening point for all these tremendous area resources, the Coalition anticipates servicing over 1 million casual visitors, business associates, and state officials annually.