Ho Kong

The city is looking to purchase the former Ho Kong restaurant at 366 Cumberland St.

WOONSOCKET – The city of Woonsocket is looking to purchase the former Ho Kong restaurant on Cumberland Street to make way for the expansion of Cass Park.

The City Council on Monday indicated its support for a grant application that would allow the city to purchase the shuttered Chinese restaurant and its adjacent parking lot. The purchase, about 1.4 acres overall, would help facilitate the construction of an expanded football field and parking area at what’s now Dionne Track. Ho Kong closed its doors in 2019.

Though Monday’s resolution did not include a proposed purchase price for the lots, city officials indicated they’re hoping to reach an agreement on a price with the landowner. The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management awards grants of up to $400,000 for land purchases for recreation projects, with the municipality expected to match 50 percent of the acquisition cost.

The purchase is part of an ongoing effort to expand Cass Park by creating a state-of-the-art football field and track facility. While current versions of the plan indicate the field will be situated closer to the existing Cass Park facilities, renderings show an expanded parking lot extending toward Cumberland Street in the area of the current Dionne Track. The proposed parking lot, as visualized in renderings, would allow for more parking than is currently available at the track.

City councilors on Monday gave their full support to the proposal, approving a resolution in support of the grant application on a 6-0 vote.

Though the city hopes to purchase the lots, the councilors also indicated they’d support a second grant proposal in the event the two parties can’t come to an agreement. In that case, according to the resolution, the council would support a RIDEM recreation grant application for the development of recreational facilities within any city park. That type of grant would require the city to match 20 percent of the project cost.

The Cass Park expansion, proposed by Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt last year, will include a major excavation of most of the remaining undeveloped area of Cass Park. The city is currently soliciting for buyers interested in purchasing gravel from the site to help finance the remainder of the project.

The city should know by next spring whether it’s received a grant to purchase the former restaurant. The current round of RIDEM recreation grant applications is due by Dec. 17, with decisions announced in spring of 2022.

(2) comments

Tjk

I agree that neighborhood smells. It is a shame that stink is in our city. I don’t know how people live in that area, a park is great idea if the smell can be rectified. That should be a concern for the city to take action on!

sw02895

It's a smelly spot ... The truth is I stopped going to Ho Kong maybe 25 years ... I came out after a very nice lunch on a Hot Bright Summer day and was totally overcome by the stench from across the street and almost got sick ... I liked Ho Kong a lot but I NEVER went back ... this area is not right for a park or a Junior High ... I think this would be a good spot for city hall and let the politicians work in and enjoy the stench from across the street that they allow ...

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