The Elmwood Neighborhood Association’s (ENA) monthly e-newsletter changes hands from Karen Hlynsky, who launched and continued the email publication for 12 years, to Jen Vincent. As Hlynsky steps down to focus on job and personal life responsibilities, she reflects on when ENA got its start as a loose association of activists in 2011, with a handful of neighbors assembling to advocate for improved city services in the area in light of their needs being dismissed by City Hall. “We each took on roles to build a sense of community and become a voice for the neighborhood in the Mayor’s Office,” says Hlynsky. From planting trees and developing a park to joining the Friends of Knight Memorial Library in improving the library building and programs, working with RIDOT to slow traffic, and advocating for affordable housing, ENA has garnered support and strength from the community.
When Hlynsky started the newsletter, she shares, “I’d hoped it would build pride in our neighborhood, and provide neighbors with opportunities to meet one another and join in activities that improved and celebrated our wonderful neighborhood. Every month I learned about events that Elmwoodians were hosting, organizing, and promoting and the workings of City Hall and state agencies whose decisions, projects, and programs impacted Elmwood. It’s been quite an education!” Now under Vincent’s leadership, the newsletter will get a new look but remain a source of information on projects and happenings for neighbors. To subscribe, email JenniferDaltonVincent@gmail.com.
The Summit Neighborhood Association (SNA) Snow Brigade helps elderly and disabled neighbors who have difficulty clearing their walks and driveways, and who cannot easily pay for a service. SNA is urgently looking for additional volunteer shovelers for this season. Shovelers work in teams, trading off two-week shifts to prevent anyone from having to commit for the entire winter. If you are able to help, please email SNASnow@gmail.com.
SNA continues to support the new Your Neighborhood Food Pantry at 533 Branch Avenue by helping coordinate some of their volunteers, as well as raising funds for this important community service. Neighbors also assist the Mount Hope Community Center with their work distributing groceries every Friday to residents in need. To get involved with SNA, attend a monthly meeting (held on third Mondays at 7pm, except for holidays), and watch for updates by following their Facebook page. Meetings are open to the public and held in the Sopkin Auditorium at Miriam Hospital and on Zoom. For more information, email SNAProv@gmail.com
The Jewelry District faces an impending major construction boom. At its November meeting, the Jewelry District Association (JDA) had a lively discussion on how to maintain quality of life in their narrow street grid once all the planned projects have swung into action. Traffic issues, construction noise, dust, and other disruptions are unavoidable. The State Laboratory is already in the works on Richmond Street, with several big projects soon to follow. Construction fences will go up along Richmond, Elbow, and possibly Chestnut streets when work begins this summer on Brown’s 300,000-square-foot, seven-story Life Sciences building. A few small buildings will have to come down; then, after the rubble is hauled away, trucks will start delivering building materials. One big plus: Brown’s plans show publicly accessible ground-floor spaces and park-like pathways through the site.
Nearby, the two-story Merchants Overseas warehouse at the corner of Bassett and Claverick streets will be transformed into a multi-story apartment complex. On Parcels 14 and 15, adjacent to Brown’s building at 200 Dyer Street, a 12-story apartment has been approved to start construction. Still under consideration is Pebb Capital’s re-scaled proposal for a residential infill building on Chestnut Street next to the district’s oldest building, Mayor Doyle’s house built in 1825. The evolution of the district continues, and the JDA will work to make the transformation as smooth as possible for the people who live, work, and play here.
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