You may not know Cliff Wood, but if you live or work in the neighborhood then you surely recognize him.Â As executive director of the Downtown Providence Parks Conservancy (DPPC), Cliff leads the public-private partnership to revitalize Downtown Providence’s public spaces. I met up with Cliff on a gorgeous fall day near the fountain in Burnside Park to learn a little bit more about what he does for the parks and downtown.
How long have you worked in the neighborhood?
I’ve been working in the neighborhood for 18 years in various positions and with various companies.
What do you think is the biggest misconception about the neighborhood?
Downtown is a lot more vibrant than people realize. A lot of people live and work down here, and there are a lot of amenities for residents and visitors, like easier parking and lots of independently owned businesses.
What are the biggest changes you’ve seen to Burnside Park?
The perception of the park has changed a lot over the years as we’ve built relationships and leveraged its needs and resources. Our partnership with the DIDÂ (the guys in yellow jackets) has been great, as they help keep the park clean and safe. There are also a lot of programs that we do in the summer like the beer garden with live music on Thursdays, the art in the park events and the farmers market on Tuesdays.
I’ve seen you on the stage at the Beer Gardens playing the saxophone, is that just a hobby?
I’ve played the sax for years as a hobby, but often play with professional musicians likeÂ Sidi Maiga.
What do you like to recommend to visitors of the city?
Be sure to visit the whole city. We have an impressive variety of high quality things in a city our size, and it’s easy to get from one neighborhood to another. In addition to our vibrant public spaces, we also have an incredible food and arts scenes. AS220 is always worth checking out, and the RISD Museum is free on Sundays.
Rapid Fire neighborhood questions:
Favorite spot for lunch? Figidini
Favorite spot for coffee? Small Point CafÃ©
Favorite after work spot? The Eddy or Trinity Brewhouse
Little known neighborhood fact about the neighborhood?Â Waterplace park used to be a cove where the local native tribes would fish in the winter.
Favorite thing to do in the summer?Â Go to the beach.
What gets you through the winter?Â I still go to the beach. Also, music and family time. Oh, and those happy lights!
Neighborhood shopping tip?Â Shop local, and get to know the people in the shops.