Grant to Increase Community Events at Governor Sprague Mansion

By Pam Schiff

Everything old is new again. Or, in this case, something old gets a few new upgrades.

Governor Sprague Mansion is the recipient of a $10,000 grant that purchased a large event tent and heaters.

Sprague Mansion dates back to 1790 and was the home of two Rhode Island governors; it is located at 1351 Cranston Street and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1971.

In the fall of 2021, the Cranston YMCA, Cranston Historical Society, Cranston Councilman John Donegan, former Councilman Steve Stycos, and resident and community attorney Grace Swinski teamed up to apply for a Rhode Island grant Foundation to increase community events at the Governor Sprague Mansion. The Governor Sprague Mansion is a historic and cultural centerpiece of Ward 3 and now serves as the headquarters of the Cranston Historical Society.

This project aims to make this place a community hub where the diverse residents of Cranston can come together not only to celebrate, but also for their mental, emotional and physical well-being.

Community partners were pleased to announce that they received the grant earlier this year; all supplies have arrived and are currently stored in the shed on the grounds of the mansion.

“Much of the history of this part of town stems from Governor Sprague’s mansion and Cranston’s printing press. Increasing community access and participation in this space is a way to continue to honor this history and bring people together while creating new memories and building community,” Donegan said.

Tents and heaters will allow Governor Sprague Mansion to expand programming into the spring and fall. They plan to partner with and support the programs and services of community groups such as the Cranston Arts Commission, Cranston Public Library, and OneCranston Health Equity Zone, among others.

Additionally, as part of the grant, the Cranston YMCA will hire and train bilingual Zumba instructors to lead outdoor programs on the grounds of the mansion.

“The Cranston Y is not just a gymnasium and swimming pool, it is a place that welcomes all members of the community and strives to provide programs and services that support youth development, a way of healthy living and social responsibility. Partnering with wonderful organizations like the Cranston Historical Society at Governor Sprague Mansion helps the Y expand its programs and services beyond our four walls, into the community we are here to serve,” said Christy Clausen, executive director of the Cranston YMCA.

This partnership and project creates the opportunity to connect residents to each other, residents to organizations, and to build a more connected and cohesive community.

“Given that the Governor Sprague Mansion is located on one of the largest green spaces in a rather densely populated area, the Cranston Historical Society thought we should open our grounds to community and government groups. We hope that people who visit the venue for one of these events will develop an appreciation for the history of the area and the work the Society does to preserve, protect and promote our city’s past,” said Sandra Moyer. , president of Cranston Historical Society.

The visions of the future of space and the mansion are endless and are only limited by people’s imaginations.

“I have walked past the Sprague Mansion several times but never realized what a wonderful green space we had in the area until the Christmas tree lighting. Seeing the locals come together as a community to celebrate the season was powerful. When I was asked to be part of a group to come up with strategies to make outdoor community events more accessible, I was hooked. I envision many community organizations using the tents and heaters in this space and keeping the corner of Cranston St. and Dyer Ave alive. with events for the city,” said Grace Swinski, Ward 3 resident and community advocate.

For more information about the Cranston Historical Society, call (401) 944-9226, or [email protected] or www.cranstonhistoricalsociety.org.

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