EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Visitors to Riverside’s Crescent Park Looff Carousel and neighboring Rose Larisa Park will have to wait another summer for the clam shack to reopen. But they’ll still be able to grab a cup of chowder there this year.
Todd Blount, owner of Blount Fine Foods, confirmed that his company’s popular location in the old concession stand next to the carousel will remain closed in 2021. It was already closed in 2020, with signs put up saying it would reopen after a construction project.
“The old building was a concession stand not a restaurant, so it eventually ran its course,” Blount told 12 News in an email, describing the structure as “not adequate long-term.”
That doesn’t mean summer fare won’t be available at Crescent Park this summer, however. Blount said his company plans to have a food truck on site Thursdays through Sundays “with a limited menu” starting sometime in the latter part of May. He also pointed out Blount’s other location in nearby Warren, which is adding ice cream to the menu this year.
Patricia Resende, a spokesperson for East Providence Mayor Bob DaSilva, said the city is currently working on a three-part project at Crescent Park that will include a new building for the clam shack, a new business office for the carousel, and a new garage with storage space.
The city is currently awaiting approval for the project from the Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission, Resende said. The city will go out to bid for construction if the state commission grants approval.
Built in 1895 by Charles Looff for the now-defunct Crescent Park amusement park, the carousel is a popular summer destination for locals and tourists, located across from Rose Larisa Park and the seawall along Narragansett Bay. More than 1.6 million riders have used the carousel since it opened, according to the city.
The venue was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1987, and is currently managed by the city’s 20-member Carousel Park Commission.
The East Providence City Council has approved $110,000 in its last two budgets for repair work at the carousel to stabilize the structure, with the Crescent Park Preservation Association donating another $29,770. That work is described in budget documents as the first part of a two-phase capital project.
Ted Nesi (email@example.com) is a Target 12 investigative reporter and 12 News politics/business editor. He co-hosts Newsmakers and writes Nesi’s Notes on Saturdays. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram