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Jane Sherman by the Woonasquatucket River in Providence.

Photo Credit: John Freidah, The Providence Journal

Jane Sherman: River Hero

Mrs. Jane Sherman, Providence resident and founder of the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council (WRWC), won the 2014 River Hero Award

The River Hero honor goes to a few special people around the world each year for the differences they make. The River Network presented the award to Mrs. Sherman at the National River Heroes Banquet in Pittsburgh, PA on June 2.

Jane Sherman is a 2014 River Hero because her vision and hard work made Olneyville in Providence a better place to live. She did this by bringing new life to the Woonasquatucket River and opening park land and a bike path around it.

Mrs. Sherman's tireless work resulted in the Woonasquatucket's designation as an American Heritage River and Olneyville as a Brownfield Showcase Community.

Mrs. Sherman formed partnerships between the WRWC, the Providence Police, Olneyville Housing and dozens of others. Their work led to an 80% reduction in crime in the area surrounding Riverside Park in Olneyville.

Senator Jack Reed has this to say about Jane Sherman. "Jane is a force of nature and incredibly deserving of this award. I remember touring Olneyville with her in the mid 1990's and being impressed by Jane's passion and advocacy for cleaning up the river, creating vibrant parks and green spaces where people could walk, bike, view wildlife and even enjoy boating and fishing. Jane's remarkable commitment has led to a real transformation, not just of the Woonasquatucket River, but she's helped improve the quality of life and opportunities for those in the surrounding community.

WRWC Executive Director, Alicia Lehrer, presents WRWC Founder, Jane Sherman, with the 2014 River Hero Award at the national River Rally in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

"Thanks to Jane's leadership and the partnerships she formed, where the rubble of Riverside Mills once was now stands a vibrant twelve acre park, complete with playgrounds, a community garden, a fish ladder, a bike shop and Providence's only off-road bike path, a vital transportation connection for the West Side of Providence to downtown. Along the river, homes have risen and this Brownfield showcase community is a national model for building partnerships to transform neighborhoods. I salute Jane and everyone at the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council for their outstanding work," added Reed.

Jane Sherman showed that hard work and partnership can make lasting changes even when it seems impossible. As a result, each year more than 900 people volunteer to keep improving the Woonasquatucket and its Greenway.

The Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council is proud to honor our founder, Jane Sherman. She deserves it!

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