Woonsocket celebrates 125th anniversary with block party
WOONSOCKET, R.I. —
Wooonsocket's 125th anniversary celebration drew thousands to a downtown block party Thursday night.
Those attending enjoyed 12 stages of music, lots of food, and the centerpiece: a scaffolding replica of Paris' Arc de Triomphe meant to link to the city's French heritage with a waterfall coming off the top to symbolize the falls in the city.
City resident Stephanie DiSalvo told NBC 10, "It's a good thing. A lot of businesses are open. People are eating a lot of food. People came out from all over."
Lifelong resident Yvette Doiron said, "It's wonderful, get the people together. And hopefully we can get through all this financial stuff."
The city's financial woes are pressing, the city has been on the brink of bankruptcy for a while, is $10 million in the hole, and taxpayers are now getting a 20 percent supplemental tax.
"We're all kind of upset but you all have to go on and do what you have to do," said taxpayer Richard Fontaine.
Mayor Leo Fontaine told NBC 10 he understands the feelings of taxpayers, and he doesn't like it either. The mayor and residents hoped the anniversary celebration could put some of those hardships aside, at least for a night.
"We're trying to turn a corner and I really think that's what this is about. We're trying to make this the resurgence of our city. We've faced our challenges. We have a plan in place to come out of it," said Mayor Leo Fontaine.
And the people who came to the event seemed to be pleased the city went forward with this celebration which was put on with $70,000 in private donations, including $25,000 from locally based CVS Pharmacy.
"I think it would have been a mistake if they stopped it. Look at everybody. They're all getting together. They're all talking. Actually I didn't hear anybody talk about taxes tonight at all," said Richard Fontaine. Reporter's Note: Richard Fontaine, is not related to the mayor.