George Redman was honored on Nov. 29, 2011 by Governor Chafee, Chairman Melo, family, friends and recreational path users for his selfless quest to have the East Bay Bike Path built. According to son Paul, the 87-year old would be out on the path more frequently if his health and family allowed. As it is now, several times a year, he can be found at Your Bike Shop in Warren, providing water and snacks to path users.
Speaking to honor George were Bob Votava, Representative Melo, Governor Chafee, RIDOT Director Lewis and RIDEM Director Coit. As Master of Ceremony, trail advocate Bob Votava shared details of George’s long history of community involvement and sacrifice, from serving in World War 2 and as a Boy Scout leader, as a leader of bay shore cleanups, to bike path advocate and husband of 60 years. Chairman Melo and the Governor thanked George for his persistence in the face of community opposition, including letters written to the Chief-of-Staff of President Reagan.
RIDOT director Michael Lewis spoke not just about thanking and recognizing him, but also informed the assembled crowd out that efforts like this are what it takes to get changes started, quipping that if RIDOT was perceived to be inflexible now, imagine its demeanor and response in 1975 to the idea of pedestrian and bicycle recreation trails.
Four generations of George’s family were on hand for the ceremony, including his son Paul, who delivered the thank you and acceptance. George’s health did not allow him to deliver his own thanks and acceptance of the honor, it was clear from his expression and discernible attention and focus that he appreciated the kind words being spoken of and for him by those gathered.
WIth the assistance of the NBW, Greenways Alliance of Rhode Island and the Ocean State Pathways, signatures were collected in support of the unanimous 2006 legislation to name the yet-to-be-built linear park in honor of a visionary. From the seed of an idea in one persons mind, the gathering of likeminded persons to the cause, the allocation of 1.2 million dollars to begin construction of what is now considered to be one of the top ten most used paths in the nation, it is truly fitting that the connection between Providence and East Providence be named the George Redman Linear Park. The park is currently expected to be completed in 2015 after a 2 year construction project to begin in 2013.