An overview of what’s happening around the city right now
The Fox Point Neighborhood Association (FPNA) has announced an influx of new leadership, including three new board members and a new interim president. With a passion for environmental protection and sustainable development and a background in finance, Lily Bogosian, FPNA interim president as of June 2023, is an advocate for preserving the unique character and charm that first attracted her and her family to Fox Point 13 years ago. “Small family businesses, unique shops, and local restaurants are the backbone of our neighborhood,” says Bogosian. “We are lucky to enjoy the benefits of a local experience within the larger province of Providence.”
New FPNA board members include Mike Bell, a visual artist who owns a media production company, Embee Studio, that he runs from his Sheldon Street home. Bell is committed to preserving the historic character that Fox Point is known for and ensuring that the neighborhood is a safe and vibrant community for businesses and residents. Judyth vanAmringe is a designer and ceramicist who came to Providence from New York City in 1997. Her dedication to architecture and design extends to her neighborhood support for sustainable and architecturally desirable land use projects, as well as advocacy for responsible development. John Woolsey is a retired architect with a special interest in old neighborhoods and historic buildings. He is currently co-chair of the Board of Trustees of Preserve Rhode Island. Historic neighborhoods and the character of old buildings have been some of Woolsey’s life-long interests.
Since November 2022, Olneyville Neighborhood Association (ONA) has held three community forums and four pop-up clinics across Providence on driver privilege cards and permits, which are essentially drivers licenses that undocumented Rhode Islanders can apply for under a new law that took effect July 1, 2023. ONA and other community partners have fought for this right for over a decade.
At monthly community meetings, ONA invites speakers from local community partners, city and state officials, and small businesses to discuss their services and programs in an effort to provide additional resources to their members. Because 95 percent of ONA members requested immigrant services, such as legal consultation, they recently recruited an immigration lawyer to volunteer once a month providing free legal consultation and Know Your Rights workshops. As of June, ONA also offers three computing, typing, and literacy classes totalling 36 students. They recently expanded their literacy class to the Olneyville Community Library, with plans to offer these courses at Webster Avenue School and William D’Abate in the coming school year. Lastly, thanks to GrowSmartRI, Providence Streets Coalition, and the Rhode Island Department, ONA received a $15,000 grant toward launching a Walking School Bus at William D’Abate Elementary School located right in our neighborhood.
Nick Horton, co-executive director of OpenDoors, has done considerable outreach to Elmwood residents and nearby schools about the proposed transitional housing and homeless shelter at 572 Elmwood Avenue. His survey of residents and feedback from meeting participants have shown that some Elmwood residents are especially supportive and eager to help future residents in the site. Other Elmwood residents are opposed, primarily due to social service overload in the south end of Providence, mixed messages about OpenDoors’ ability to maintain the historic character of the building, and unanswered questions about management and security. It’s not yet clear if, how, and when the proposal might go ahead. At time of press, OpenDoors has not signed a lease. The person who is drafting the potential lease for the owner stated that the lease for transitional housing would be limited to six months. OpenDoors expressed their intent to buy the building, now appraised at $1.4 million.
Residents and businesses in Washington Park are concerned about a large shelter being proposed for 1144 Eddy Street. State Senator Tiara Mack is circulating a Google survey that asks for a formal meeting for public involvement for the site that needs environmental remediation, which can be found at ENA-PVD.org/our-newsletter.html. Meanwhile, South Providence Neighborhood Association has focused on the impact of Crossroads on the broader community and concerns for the safety of people who look to Crossroads for shelter.
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