On Saturday April 18, 2009 from 8:30am -12 noon the City of Cranston’s Conservation Commission in conjunction with the Pawtuxet River Authority(PRA) will be holding an Earth Day Clean Up at Furnace Hill Brook off Natick Avenue in Cranston. Last year’s wildly successful Earth Day Clean Up along the banks of the Pawtuxet in the Howard Complex featured a small army of volunteers, who over the course of the day removed an incredible amount of debris (bottles, cans, tires, box springs, and an odd sofa or two) and in some cases helped to decrease the city’s wood tick population– I picked 24 of them off my person.
This year’s site, Furnace Hill Brook, is a long neglected and under appreciated brook that lies just west of the Rt.295/Rt.37 intersection. There is a small city-owned (but apparently no longer city maintained) sitting area with a granite bench and several ornamental shrubs along the banks of the brook that is in need of some sprucing up in addition to the brook itself. Over the years the brook’s flow has been altered and at times reduced to a trickle by an excessive amount of natural and man-made debris that has clogged the brook, which actually flows beneath Natick Avenue and Rt. 295.
In the summer of 2008 the brook, which is a part of the Pawtuxet River Watershed, was a topic of much discussion in relation to the proposed Phenix Terrace development. Area residents sited the potential negative impact that the proposed 198 unit apartment complex could have on Furnace Hill Brook. The Cranston Intelligent Development Committee, a group of citizens opposed to the Phenix Terrace project, enlisted the support of then mayoral candidate Fung along with 4 current City Council members –Lanni, Lupino, Aceto, and Pellitier in their attempt to fight the proposal being brought forward by Boston-based developer E.A. Fish. It is my sincere hope that our elected city officials can put aside their differences for just one day, roll up their sleeves and join with the assembled volunteers at Furnace Hill Brook to make Earth Day 2009 a huge success. Remember, as JFK said “success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan”. Thanks, Richard Brown