Portion of Rhodes on the Pawtuxet closed after kayaker spots deterioration

West Bay

CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — A popular Cranston function hall has been forced to close off a section of its building after a kayaker noticed the deterioration of the concrete pillars that support the structure.

Hillary Williamson, general manager of Rhodes on the Pawtuxet, said the deterioration is on the outer mezzanine portion of the building. She said they’re working with the city on making repairs.

In the meantime, that portion of the building has been closed.

Cranston Mayor Ken Hopkins said in a statement that the city’s building official issued a “Notice of Violation” to Rhodes on the Pawtuxet for “apparent structural deficiencies.”

“Rhodes’ ownership and management have been directed by the city not to occupy a portion of the building,” Hopkins said. “Functions are still permitted utilizing the majority of the facility. We have been informed that Rhodes has a structural engineer evaluating these concerns. The city is working with Rhodes to resolve these matters.”

Rhodes on the Pawtuxet dates back to 1915, but it’s unclear how old the deteriorating section is.

“It was unbeknownst to any of us at the board or even at Rhodes themselves,” said Jim Conway, president of the Rhodes’ board. “I guess it was a blessing in disguise that someone pointed it out. It only takes one incident to change lives forever and that’s not what we want to do.”

Conway said they are considering hiring security to keep the public away from that dangerous section that’s now closed off. He assures the rest of the building is structurally safe and said city officials did a walkthrough and gave the all-clear.

“The dance floor, the bar area, the front foyer, that is all structurally sound,” Conway said. “It’s solid as a tank with the exception, obviously, of what’s going on now.”

The deterioration also does not impact the ballroom or the lounge area. The impacted space was utilized a few times a year as an overflow space for large events and otherwise was used for storage.

A few functions were forced to find a new location.

“There were a couple of events that needed that space, so they had to be moved to another venue, unfortunately, but we are not gonna take any chances and risk something happening,” Conway said.

Structural engineers will assess the damage on Tuesday, according to Conway. Repairs will be completed in phases over several weeks.

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