177 Main Street was the site of the WLT’s Community Garden until 2019 when the garden was relocated to 145 Main Street, a lot also owned by the Land Trust. In 2021, WLT partnered with Cinder Restaurant to create a permanent greenscape on the lot. The two entities determined that the best and highest use for their neighboring Main Street lots was a blend of commercial property and public urban greenway along the nationally designated Wild and Scenic Pawcatuck River. WLT was awarded a community development grant from the Rhode Island Foundation to support the transformation of 177 Main Street through landscaping, wayfinding signage, and public access walkways along the river.
The ultimate goal of the Urban Initiative is to transfer the improved properties to new operators, so in July 2023, 177 Main Street was sold to 169 Main St, LLC, which operates Cinder Restaurant. A conservation easement held by the Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) ensures that the 177 Main St parcel will remain green open space, never to be developed.
More about WLT’s Urban Initiative
In 2004, the Board of Directors voted to expand the Westerly Land Trust’s mission to include an Urban Initiative, focused on redevelopment and enhancement of culturally significant commercial properties in areas of historic significance to the Town. The “smart growth” concept reflects the other side of the coin of land conservation. A vibrant downtown offering attractive options to live, dine, and shop reduces development pressure on precious open space.
Since establishing the Urban Initiative, the Westerly Land Trust has worked in partnership with the Royce Family Fund to purchase and adaptively re-use commercial properties of interest in downtown Westerly. The Westerly Land Trust holds three properties on Main Street along the Pawcatuck River as well as the historic Industrial Trust building on High Street and the United Theatre and Montgomery Ward building on Canal Street.