PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Waterplace Park in Providence is Rosalie Jalbert’s “happy place.”
That’s because her late husband, engineer Ronald Jalbert, designed the space during the Providence River relocation project in the 80s.
“He was very proud of his work,” Jalbert said. “He passed away in 1996, so Waterplace Park is a very special place to me, my family and my friends.”
“He had colon cancer,” she continued. “When he was diagnosed in 1994, he was supposed to live for four more months … and he lived two more years. I believe it was the project that kept him alive all that time.”
Since his passing, the capital city has installed two plaques honoring his work. Both plaques include a photo of her husband and architect William Warner, who also helped make Waterplace Park a reality.
Jalbert said in 2020, she noticed vandals had targeted one of the plaques, though it wasn’t nearly as bad as it is now.
She showed 12 News the damage that has been done to the plaque over the years Wednesday afternoon.
“It’s heartbreaking … I’m absolutely shocked,” she said. “You can barely see the picture.”
Jalbert said she’s unsure how long the plaque has been covered in layers of graffiti, adding she hasn’t been able to visit Waterplace Park in quite some time.
She hopes that her story will remind everyone that vandalism is damaging more than just the plaque itself.
“It’s not a building,” she said. “It’s a very special plaque, and it’s sad that somebody would desecrate it.”
Jalbert tells 12 News she has contacted the city about removing the paint, and has also filed a police report.