Mayor Taveras, Downtown Providence Parks Conservancy, Southwest Airlines Open New Imagination Center in Burnside Park

PROVIDENCE, RI – Mayor Angel Taveras, the Downtown Providence Parks Conservancy and Southwest Airlines today announced the opening of the Imagination Center in Burnside Park, a new place for children and families to play in the heart of downtown Providence.

“The opening of the Imagination Center advances our efforts to revitalize Kennedy Plaza and make downtown Providence a more vibrant cultural and commercial gateway to our Capital City,” said Mayor Angel Taveras. “Working together and in partnership with Southwest Airlines, we are improving our downtown public spaces and providing more opportunities to play, recreate, dine and enjoy spending time in Kennedy Plaza.”

The Imagination Center is a fun destination for arts and crafts, interactive play and more, bringing the local community together and enriching the many activities in Burnside Park – including story-time, art activities, live music, a beer garden, food trucks, farmers market and evening programming. The Center is surrounded by picnic tables, beanbags and a wood deck, and includes book carts and planting beds.

The Center was created with a Southwest Airlines grant as part of the airline’s ongoing commitment to connect people and communities. Site Specific LLC contributed to the project by providing an in-kind installation of the Imagination Center deck. Several city departments supported the project, including the Department of Planning and Development and the Department of Art, Culture + Tourism.

Residents and families participated in the unveiling of the Imagination Center, as well as activities scheduled from dawn to dusk at Burnside Park, including Kidoinfo story-time, art projects, complimentary PVD Pops popsicles, free play and musical performances.

“Burnside Park is a vibrant gathering place for the local community, and we’re proud to introduce the Imagination Center to the people of Providence, whom we’ve served for more than 20 years,” said Megan Wood, senior manager of community outreach at Southwest Airlines. “At Southwest, we’re in the business of connecting people to what’s important in their lives, and we’re committed to help build strong communities in the cities we serve.”

The revitalization of Kennedy Plaza is one of the top five goals of Mayor Taveras’ economic development action plan, Putting Providence Back to Work. Among other efforts, the City is working closely with the Downtown Providence Parks Conservancy, RIPTA and other public and private partners to reconfigure the number of buses in the Plaza and transform it into a pedestrian destination.

“This investment by Southwest Airlines is another indicator of the progress the Downtown Providence Parks Conservancy is making with the help of partners and a broad coalition within the community,” said Cliff Wood, Downtown Providence Parks Conservancy. “This is the next step towards a revitalized civic center and we welcome the Imagination Center as a new community hub.”

The development of the Imagination Center was led in part by Project for Public Spaces and continues the commitment that the Downtown Providence Parks Conservancy made to revitalizing Greater Kennedy Plaza from a series of disconnected parks and facilities into an event destination.

Project for Public Spaces is a leader in community-driven place-making, a multi-faceted approach to the planning, design and management of public spaces that capitalizes on a community’s assets and potential, ultimately creating spaces that generate pride, a sense of belonging and increased quality of life.

To learn more about activities taking place in Burnside Park, visit

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