Congress approves two parks in New England

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Congress has approved plans for a new national park in parts of Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

The U.S. Senate on Friday approved the plan for the Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park as part of a massive defense policy bill that was sent to President Barack Obama.

U.S. Sen. Jack Reed had pushed the park plan for years. The Rhode Island Democrat says the park will include areas in Rhode Island including the Blackstone River and Old Slater Mill in Pawtucket, and nearby sites in North Smithfield and Cumberland. It also will include areas in Northbridge and Hopedale in Massachusetts.

The area is already home to the John H. Chafee Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor, which links 24 communities along the Blackstone River from Worcester, Massachusetts, to Providence.

In Connecticut officials are celebrating congressional approval of a new national park in Hartford centering on the historic Colt Fire Arms factory building with the blue, onion-shape dome.

The U.S. Senate on Friday approved plans for the Coltsville National Historical Park as part of a massive defense policy bill that was sent to President Barack Obama.

Congressman John Larson says the approval was the culmination of more than a decade of work to preserve the factory and surrounding area as well as make it a destination and history hub. The Connecticut Democrat says the park designation will drive economic growth and help create jobs.

Plans call for a visitors’ center at the former factory building built in 1855, a multimedia tour experience and an observation area overlooking the park.

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