Neighborhood News

October 2022

Posted

Neighbors invited to input feedback on Hope Street trial trail

From October 1-8, the Providence Streets Coalition, Thriving Places Collaborative, SPIN Streets, AARP, and 3M Gives are working with local partners, residents, and businesses to test out a temporary urban trail on Hope Street in Providence, as called for in the City of Providence’s Great Streets Plan. The Hope Street Temporary Trail is a community-led effort that will consolidate parking to the west side of Hope Street and create a one-mile trail for walking, jogging, rolling, and biking on the east side from Lauriston Street to Olney Street (Frog & Toad to Tortilla Flats). The temporary trail will be in place for one week, giving residents and business owners a chance to experience this potential change in 3D, interact with it, and give their informed feedback. Learn more or sign up to volunteer at pvdstreets.org/hope.

Ward 3 candidate forum and annual fall cook-out in Summit 

The Summit Neighborhood Association (SNA) coordinated with the Rochambeau Library to hold a candidate forum for the Ward 3 City Council seat on August 11, with Edward Fitzpatrick of The Boston Globe moderating, to help get people more involved and informed about local politics and the candidates running. A recording is available for viewing online, and the general election is November 8. SNA.providence.ri.us/upcoming-events/

SNA is gearing up to resume their annual Fall Cook-Off, tentatively scheduled for Thursday, October 27 at Three Sisters on Hope Street. All are invited to attend and submit their favorite fall-themed dish to the competition, using the featured ingredient, apples. Everyone will vote on their favorites, and winning entrants will earn fun prizes donated by local shops and merchants. Adults and children alike are encouraged to dress up in their Halloween costumes. 

Fox Point and Jewelry District neighbors weigh in on I-195 District development

In Spring 2022, the I-195 Redevelopment District invited four neighborhood organizations to offer formal input on projects slated for 195 land. Each group was encouraged to send a representative, ideally a design professional, to participate in a series of district meetings to gather neighborhood input on current projects. Neighborhood representatives have since described being ignored by the district rather than heard. Leslie Myers, architect and representative for the Fox Point Neighborhood Association (FPNA), described an August 17 open meeting in which neighborhood representatives were invited to share their views on a possible location for a large eatery or “food pavilion” slated for the public park on the western side of the Van Leesten Bridge. Myers prepared for the meeting by surveying over 600 Fox Point neighbors to determine their opinions on the ideal spot, but discovered upon arrival that the location had already been determined without input from neighbors. Caroline Skuncik, executive director of the I-195 Redevelopment District, denies that the siting was predetermined, but neighborhood organizations feel frustrated by unkept promises. “It is thoroughly disappointing to see the commission backslide on its own reform that was intended to be more inclusive of neighborhood feedback,” says FPNA president Nick Cicchitelli. –Amy Mendillo, Fox Point Neighborhood Association

The Jewelry District Association (JDA) also raises an important question about the way the I-195 Redevelopment Commission interfaces with the public. The commission has, for some time, restricted public comment at its open meetings. That practice holds regardless of the importance and/or complexity of the subject. The commission is the overseer of major projects that are drastically changing the nature of two Providence neighborhoods, but the residents of those neighborhoods have virtually no say in how they will be affected by those projects. The JDA has written to the commission asking about this policy of limiting public input, pointing out that section 42-64.14-3 of the commission’s enabling legislation orders the creation of “a state-local-private sector partnership to plan, implement, administer, and oversee the redevelopment of the surplus I-195 properties.” However, the JDA notes the local part of the equation is virtually ignored even though the relocation of I-195 created vast swaths of vacant, developable land in prime locations in two of the city’s oldest neighborhoods – a decidedly local concern. The west side park, where the food pavilion concept is set to be located, is in the heart of the historic Jewelry District. Naturally residents have a special interest in all details surrounding it. Jewelry District Association

RWP celebrates green initiatives with art and education fest

A unique festival raising awareness about important yet little-known green infrastructure projects, the Rain Harvest Arts Festival is a community celebration at Roger Williams Park’s Stormwater Innovation Center. The City of Providence has invested in over 40 projects to clean polluted stormwater runoff before it enters the park’s pond. In these projects, contaminated runoff from the roadways is diverted to a green infrastructure site, where natural vegetation and soils are used to purify the water, remove contaminants, and create healthier urban environments. The October 15 festival engages with the public about these efforts via visual and performing arts, presentations by local environmental scientists, and more. All ages are invited to the Boathouse Lawn from 10am-2pm for a day of creative learning and art exploration. StormWaterInnovation.org

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