The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has approved $6,094,017 to pay for relocating recreational ball fields at Winslow Park to a new area near T.F. Green Airport and to continue work on expansion projects for Runway 5-23.
In 2011, the FAA approved plans for T.F. Green to extend the primary runway, Runway 5-23, to the south by 1,530 feet to a total length of 8,700 feet. The longer runway will allow for larger, heavier planes, which could mean West Coast and international flight options for travelers. As part of this overall improvement plan, the airport and Warwick reached an agreement to move the ball fields to a safer location that would make room for the longer runway.
This latest installment of FAA funds will provide funding for the Winslow Park ball fields relocation, which includes the construction of four regulation soft ball fields, two practice soft ball fields, three soccer fields, walking trails, and a new concession stand. Additionally, the project includes a state-of-the-art ‘Tot Lot’ to replace the existing one being demolished by the relocation of Main Avenue. The work is being done by J.H. Lynch & Sons, Inc., and construction is expected to be completed by the end of June 2015, with the total cost of the project estimated to be about $6.6 million.
“The Winslow fields are used by hundreds of children every year, and are home to two of our largest recreational groups, Warwick Firefighters Soccer and the Apponaug Girls Softball league,” Mayor Scott Avedisian said. “Relocation of those fields was among the city’s many concerns throughout discussions of runway expansion and safety improvements at T.F. Green. We are very pleased that this funding has been issued so that we can continue to provide exceptional recreational opportunities to our youth – and at a modern facility that will be a great asset for our residents. I thank Senator Reed and our congressional delegation for helping to secure this funding, and Dr. Hittner, Kelly Fredericks and the team at RIAC for continuing to work with the city to address issues of concern as expansion projects move forward.”
Councilwoman Camille Vella-Wilkinson of Ward 3 was gratified by the announcement.
“Our city planner has said that the new Winslow Sports Complex will also increase the value of the homes nearby. Many families look for property in close proximity to parks and fields where their children can play and compete in a safe area. I believe the stores and restaurants in that section of Ward 3 will also benefit by the increased patronage. This is all part of the multiplier effect the airport has on our local economy. Warwick is so fortunate that Senator Reed and our other federal delegates have taken an active interest in ensuring the project comes to fruition. This has been an exceptionally satisfying partnership,” said Vella-Wilkinson in a statement.