Ho Kong

Woonsocket has acquired a grant toward potentially purchasing the former Ho Kong Restaurant at 366 Cumberland Hill Road to make upgrades for Cass Park.

WOONSOCKET – A $312,500 acquisition grant from the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management will back the purchase of 1.37 acres of land next to Silvestri Pond to make room for improvements to the access road to Dionne Track in Cass Park.

State officials made the announcement of the grant, the next important step, said Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt, in a series of improvements at Cass Park. The parcel targeted currently contains the former Ho Kong Restaurant on Cumberland Hill Road.

Woonsocket is fortunate to have a 60-acre park abutting its high school and career and technical center, said the mayor, where many communities are staring at developed parcels near their schools and trying to figure out how to acquire them for park space and then tear down buildings.

The city has remained vigilant in acquiring various sources of funding for the park to move forward with a concrete plan, said Baldelli-Hunt, and the intention here is to use the money in a way that moves that project forward.

If negotiations stall and the city ends up going a different direction than purchasing the Ho Kong property, officials would need to get approval from the RIDEM to shift the grant funding elsewhere, said the mayor. She said she planned to meet with the City Council to share details on the grant and negotiations.

“I think with the owners being reasonable and us being reasonable, we can come to a number that satisfies all sides,” she told The Breeze.

The City Council last December supported the city’s move to seek the grant funding for the purchase of the former Ho Kong restaurant and its surrounding parking lot, with up to a 50 percent match from the city. Matches for grants can often be done in the form of labor by city employees, said Baldelli-Hunt this week.

As mayor far more than as a former legislator, Baldelli-Hunt said she hears from constituents all the time on local projects that matter to them. She said she tries everything she can to act on those and move the projects forward. This particular project has received a tremendous amount of positive feedback, she said, and a major facelift is way overdue.

The city has “pecked away” at improvements to Cass Park using grants and other funding sources, said the mayor, including new basketball courts, benches, picnic tables, vegetation, building upgrades, a DPW-reconfigured parking lot paved and striped, new parking spaces, a new ADA bridge, a replaced walking bridge, demolition of an old warming hut, improvements to the banks of Cass Pond, and turning a small instructional league field into a new softball field, among others.

“We’ve made quite a bit of improvement already, but always knew that the main feature would be the most costly and the largest,” she said.

When they were building the softball field, she recalled how DPW Director Steve D’Agostino called to share the news of the plentiful quality gravel at the site and how it could be a resource to help pay for improvements. Though no backhoe is yet at the property, she said a lot of work has been done already toward selling the estimated 600,000 tons of gravel here, including testing the gravel, speaking with construction companies interested in buying it, applying to the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, and completing engineering work. Baldelli-Hunt was expecting D’Agostino to present an update on the work to the council this week.

As previously reported, said Baldelli-Hunt, companies in an initial request for proposals weren’t interested in doing the digging themselves, but they are interested in buying the product after the city oversees excavation work. With all the federally-funded projects on the horizon, this is a perfect time for the gravel to be made available, she said, as there will be plenty of demand for it.

(12) comments

Tim 1952

Apparently Woonsocket wasn't satisfied with only ruining the quality of life for it's wildlife and residents, so they've went ahead and shared what Woonsocket has to offer with the rest of us in Rhode Island. Brilliant!!

Welcome to the "Northern RI Burning Feces and Contaminated Water" park. Bring the whole family!!!


That area will always smell of burning foulness . It’s disgusting and it’s very unhealthy. I use to LOVE Ho Kong and I stopped going many years ago because of the stench ... I remember I was overcome with the smell after a wonderful lunch one Bright Hot Summer day and I NEVER went back ... #FACT

Pauline M Demers

Mr. Godon [?Gordon]----totally agree with your comment re: certain individuals' not using their full names when “critiquing” others. I, too, believe that “cowards hide behind keyboards”! In the past, I had recommended that the Breeze should require individuals' “full names”, but apparently they preferred doing otherwise----which is/was their choice.

“Mr. Tim 1952” wrote that... “Diminishing someone's opinion simply because they use an internet alias is just lazy. It really means you either don't comprehend the conversation or just can't be bothered to formulate a proper response.” On that note, I do wonder what an “internet alias” has to 'hide'??? If people “feel” that their opinions are trustworthy, they don't fear to use their real names. Also, just because “many people all over the world use what is called 'Internet Safety' doesn't mean that they are “right” when submitting their comments. It's just a way of “hiding behind the curtain”! Plus, nothing is sacred these days because if someone wants to find your real name, they will be able to do so.

“Mr. Tim 1952” wrote that... “...it's never a good look to interject oneself into a conversation without any points to make other than attempting to diminish someone on such a weak point”. He basically accuses his opponents of “screaming willful ignorance and having an absolute lack of critical thinking.” Wow! Those are very strong words from someone who is a “keyboard coward”! Has he forgotten that people have a “right to defend themselves”?

It's also very interesting that “Mr. Tim 1952” wrote... “For context I had copied and pasted those keyboard cowards because I find it both hilarious and ironic that they ALL love to make snickering little comments about anyone opining online and not at meetings, yet here was Mr. Ward doing exactly that.” On that note as well, isn't it peculiar that “Mr. Tim 1952” only mentions “Mr. Ward” and no one from the City's administration who also attend the City Council meetings. Do I sense a “gripe” here?

“Mr. Tim 1952” should probably schedule a meeting with Councilman Ward, i. e., only if he chooses to reveal his real name and truly find out the “truth” about this article. I can assure him that he will “have comprehended the conversation and will have received a proper response” after such meeting.

"Truth and oil have a way of coming to the surface! Amen!

Tim 1952

Good morning Pauline. Please allow me to begin by apologizing to you for making a personal choice regarding internet safety. Interesting how exactly like all the other "real" people with "real" opinions you have absolutely zero to add to this conversation other than whataboutism.

Am I threatening anyone using an alias? Nope.

Have I directly insulted anyone using an alias ? Nope.

Am I inciting violence while using an alias ? Nope.

Am I posting offensive comments using an alias ? Nope.

Am I doing anything illegal using an alias? Nope.

So what's the issue? That you are triggered by other peoples words? Or is it really because you are mad about not being able to search RI Court Connect literally praying that I have an arrest record so you can diminish both me as a person and my opinions - because that is all anyone who ever brings up using an internet alias ever does and it's WEAK.

Pauline's comment is 110 percent whataboutism. This conversation isn't even about the park or Woonsocket anymore!! Are you seriously just gonna roll right over that Cass Park and that entire section of Woonsocket smells like burning feces 24 hours a day 7 days a week 365 day a year, and has for over 20 years? Nah because some guy using an internet alias is the real problem here!!!

I've really tried holding back from saying this, but so many of the comments made by others here and on other Valley Breeze stories just reek with the trademark signs of folks who only first registered to vote in 2016. All these "very fine" and "real" people with nothing to say except whining, whataboutsim and the dismissal of others.

But NNNNAHHH...lets totally ignore city leaders who complain about people who don't meet face-to-face and opine on the internet then does the same. Let's just totally roll right by the guy actually on the freaking city council who has all the time and access to the mayor during meeting after meeting and all they ever accomplish is snickering comments, arguing with each other, walking out of official meetings and stabbing each other in the back every chance they get. Let me see if I have this right? People who dare opine on the interwebs are bad, but a passive-aggressive city councilor doing exactly what he chides others for doing is ok?

Let me clue folks in on what happens when you try speaking at a Woonsocket city council meeting on any matter. First know that whatever the matter is has already been decided behind closed doors and your opinion means nothing. Oh sure they'll thank you for your time and opinion but you'd better not dare even the faintest criticism because that is when you'll feel a Woonsocket Policeman sneaking up behind you. Direct one word of criticism whatsoever towards any council member and you will feel that Woonsocket Policeman's hand on your arm preparing to twist it. Turn around and say "really dude?" to that cop and you are going to jail. One more word towards the council and you are going to jail.

But hey keep on deflecting folks, you are doing so much good!!!

Jean Luc

Still can't find a place for a supermarket, though! How about finding a way to bring BUSINESS into the city?


I wish they could do something about the darn smell so people could enjoy that part of the city. That really hurts our city.

John Ward

Stating that its "My way or the highway" on field development plans is not the way to garner support from city council members.

Tim 1952

Mr. Ward -

“When someone wants to be critical of what the administration and the council is doing, I would invite them to speak to us face to face. I would be more than happy to have a meeting, have the council join the administration, and we could share the facts instead of hiding behind a keyboard. Cowards hide behind keyboards,” the mayor said.

"I don’t see it myself, but I get these lovely little pictures of screenshot sent to me – and I always say if you would spend as much time putting your energy into something as positive as you do something negative, we could move forward quicker and get more done,” Baldelli-Hunt said.

John Ward

Mr. 1952-

I assure you that the council has had several conversations about this matter and many more with an administration that has consistently ignored, rejected, and obfuscated any ideas, thoughts, or proposals brought by members of the council. You see, though the mayor says she would "be happy to have a meeting" what she means by having "the council join the administration" is that she welcomes us as long as we are willing to agree with her proposals while she ignores our proposals. The fact is, this administration accepts or acts on any ideas unless they can be solely attributed to the mayor. Even those ideas raised by others in the past are resurrected and brought out as her own with no recognition of where the original idea came from. It's all about ego.

The council has had many, many "positive" proposals over the years.

Of course, the most important fact regarding my comment is that the statement of "My way or the highway" was spoken on a radio program, not in a meeting with the city council members. Clearly, Director D'Agostino intends to hold the plan hostage unless he gets what he wants. I wish him luck. That is not how governance in this country works. We are not a dictatorship.

Pete Godon

To some it seems strange that someone who only uses a 1st name & year as their screen name tells someone who uses their full name that "and we could share the facts instead of hiding behind a keyboard. Cowards hide behind keyboards,” .

Tim 1952

Mr. Gordon -

The whole "people who don't use their real name on the interwebs" deflection has always been a weak, low hanging fruit attempt at a response. Diminishing someone's opinion simply because they use an internet alias is just lazy. It really means you either don't comprehend the conversation or just can't be bothered to formulate a proper response.

For many years now, there has been a set of very common-sense practices many people all over the world use called "Internet Safety". The first most important rule is never put your personal information publicly online. Now if anyone wants to advertise themselves all over the internet feel free, but it's never a good look to interject oneself into a conversation without any points to make other than attempting to diminish someone on such a weak point. It literally screams willful ignorance and an absolute lack of critical thinking.

For context I had copied and pasted those "keyboard cowards" comments from earlier quotes made by the mayor and councilors during Woonsocket City Council meetings because I find it both hilarious and ironic that they ALL love to make snickering little comments about anyone opining online and not at meetings, yet here was Mr. Ward doing exactly that.

Pete Godon

Tim 1952,

You brought up that "Cowards hide behind keyboards". John posts under his full name. He is not hiding. But you are.

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