The Providence Preservation Society, in partnership with the Mile of History Association, brings back Music in the Garden for a second summer starting May 24 with indie-Americana duo Hawthorne. Additional summer concerts include Caribbean soul from Becky Bass June 21, Greystone Rail’s bluegrass July 19, and others. Proceeds from the monthly series support the care and restoration of Shakespeare’s Head Garden, the charming pocket park where the concerts are held. The 1938 Colonial Revival garden sits behind the 1772 John Carter House at 21 Meeting Street. Originally the home of John and Amey Carter and their 12 children, it also housed the Providence Gazette, print and book shops, and the post office – all advertised with a sign depicting William Shakespeare, inspiring the building’s current name: Shakespeare’s Head.
The one-hour, no intermission programs are held weather-permitting on select Wednesdays at 6:30pm, May through September. They make for a fun midweek summer evening outing, with a variety of drink and dinner options surrounding the venue. Bring your own lawn chair, and advanced registration is encouraged. Visit PVDPreservation.org for the full schedule.
Mayor Smiley recently met with representatives of the neighborhood associations from across Providence, including Mile of History Association (MoHA), to hear residents’ concerns and priorities. The fundamental concern was quality of life, defined as enforcement of zoning laws, public safety, trash and pollution, and public infrastructure (such as streets and sidewalks). MoHA continues to fight for an appropriate building on Parcel 2 of the I-195 land. In cooperation with the College Hill Neighborhood Association and Fox Point Neighborhood Association, they are pressing for a building worthy of the historic section of Providence, with view corridors and sensible massing in height and parking arrangements. Visit MileOfHistory.org to learn more about their projects and for details about an upcoming spring outdoor block party for members and prospective new members.
Attendees took a moment at the March Fox Point Neighborhood Association (FPNA) meeting to reflect on a hard-earned win: the demise of the Fane Tower, a proposed 47-story residential tower that the 195 Commission considered – and many residents and local groups adamantly opposed – for nearly seven years. The developer, who received initial approvals from the commission to build the tower on the western side of the Providence River near the Van Leesten Pedestrian Bridge, was turned down decisively by the same body in February after submitting a pared-down design.
The overwhelming response among FPNA board members was relief. “Wrong building, wrong spot,” commented FPNA vice president Daisy Schnepel. “The tower was going to stand out like a sore thumb and look more like Miami than New England. Why dominate the landscape with high-end apartments when the city cries for affordable housing?” FPNA board member Lily Bogosian expressed her relief, saying that the city’s “amazing skies and sunsets will not be eclipsed by the shadow of the Fane Tower.” Neighbors expressed thanks to the coalition of individuals and organizations who came together for a long and unified fight, with a special nod to Sharon Steele, president of the Jewelry District Association, who led neighbors through a costly court battle. “I’m proud of the citizens and neighborhood organizations of Providence who organized and persisted and managed to get our voices heard,” says board member Vin Scorziello.
South Providence Neighborhood Association (SPNA) recently launched a series of discussions in light of recent events surrounding emergency funds being issued by the state for trash pickup around the temporary shelter at the Cranston Armory. The funds arrived in response to residents’ complaints about litter accumulating and sparked the revival of an ongoing conversation in South Providence about the difference in the level of attention and care given to concerns raised by higher-income, white residents and low-to-moderate income, Black and people of color communities in the Southside and parts of the West End. While the latter have been raising similar concerns for over a decade about trash pickup around Crossroads and Amos House, these complaints raised by Black and people of color communities have largely been ignored and dismissed, whereas the predominantly white communities facing a temporary increase in trash for the length of the shelter being open received immediate attention.
Responding to testimonies of this trend from residents, SPNA started a Community Conversation series on topics such as this, with the goal of closing the divide and ensuring all people in every part of the city receive the same level of care and attention in similar situations. The first meeting was held in March at the Southside Cultural Center and saw more than 25 attendees gathering to share their experiences, and the second one will take place in early or mid June to continue the conversation. Follow for details and dates: Facebook: South Providence Neighborhood Association
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