WOONSOCKET – The John H. Chafee Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor Commission, expected to expire on Oct. 11, will formerly transfer its mission to the nonprofit organization it created more than a year ago: the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor Inc.
The expiration, which affects only the commission and not the Blackstone River Valley’s designation as a heritage corridor, comes more than 25 years after the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor Commission was created by Congress.
The decision to transfer power from the commission to the nonprofit was made last week, according to a release in the nonprofit’s newsletter.
“We would obviously have preferred to receive another extension, but fortunately made sure to have a plan B in place, which can now go into effect. As a result, the corridor program can continue with minimal disruption to ongoing projects and to our many partners,” Donna Williams, chair of the commission and president of Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor Inc., said in the nonprofit’s newsletter.
According to the nonprofit, the National Park Service is working with the commission to ensure that current projects will continue to move forward in light of the transition. Funding for projects has been transferred to the nonprofit organization.
Ongoing corridor projects include river cleanup, land conservation and stewardship, historic preservation, programs with schools, recreational programs and events, support for the arts, and other cultural events and assistance to towns trying to preserve their heritage while also improving the local and regional economies.
“Everybody wants to see this hugely successful program continue,” Ted Sanderson, former chair of the commission, said in the nonprofit’s newsletter. “Like the commission, our new nonprofit is focused on helping our partners do what they do best, and on coordinating people, organizations and agendas into a powerful force for preservation and revitalization. For us, it’s full speed ahead.”