Congress passes bill to help WaterFire event go on

By The Associated Press

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) _ Congress has passed a bill that allows the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to operate the Fox Point Hurricane Barrier during the city’s popular WaterFire event.

The bill also gives the agency the authority to accept funds from the city and other entities to do so.

U.S. Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse and Jack Reed said Friday that the president will soon sign the bill.           

The Army Corps of Engineers said last year that it could only operate the barrier during emergencies because of federal budget cuts. It also did not have the clear authority to operate the barrier to support recreational activities.                 

WaterFire, Providence‘s public art display, requires consistent water levels to accommodate the bonfires.

Closing the barrier maintains the water level when the tide is too low or too high.

(C) The Associated Press 2014