Neighborhood News: A space made available to Providence’s neighborhood associations free of charge

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Bundle up for winter events in Blackstone Park Conservation District

As part of Blackstone Parks Conservancy’s monthly Art & Science in the Park series, Winter Birds will take place December 11 at 10am. The nature event led by artist and environmental educator Melissa Guillet of 15 Minute Field Trips invites families to learn about birds that live in the park’s woods and waterways, and also make a bird feeder and bird collage to take home. Online registration is required; for updates, visit Facebook: 15 Minute Field Trips.

If you’ve walked in Blackstone Park in the last year, you may have noticed whimsical and eye-catching works created by nature/environmental artist Pam Steager with the conservancy’s approval. Now Steager is planning a family-friendly community event in collaboration with the conservancy, local libraries, and schools, and with support from RI State Council of the Arts. On Sunday, December 19 from 2-4:30pm, Calling Back the Light will include a labyrinth in Blackstone Field, mandala-making, and lantern procession to launch the mandala onto the Seekonk River. Bring your own source of light (no open flames) for the lantern procession and any materials from your yard that you’d like to add to the mandala. 

Snow brigade and volunteering with Summit Neighborhood Association

The Summit Neighborhood Association is resuming the Snow Brigade for the coming winter. Volunteers help elderly and disabled neighbors who have difficulty clearing their walks and driveways, and who cannot easily pay for this service. Shovelers work in teams, trading off two-week shifts so that nobody has to commit for the entire winter. Neighbors in need of assistance and volunteers interested in joining the effort can email SNASnow@gmail.com.

Volunteers continue assisting the Mount Hope Community Center with its work distributing groceries from the food pantry every Wednesday and Friday to residents in need, and more volunteers are always needed to help with deliveries and unloading food pallets from the RI Food Bank on Fridays. Contact SNAProv@gmail.com to join the volunteer email list.

Neighbors weigh in on Fox Point waterfront development

In mid-October, leaders from three Boston-based development firms shared building proposals with Fox Point neighbors for the area of land located between South Main and South Water streets at the eastern edge of the Michael S. Van Leesten pedestrian bridge (current home of the 10,000 Suns exhibit). Each of the developers is hoping to win approval from the I-195 Commission through its multi-step, competitive bidding process.

Since October, Fox Point residents have offered feedback on these designs. On one hand, neighbors expressed concern that all three designs are too large and cumbersome – each with six-story mixed-use residences spanning two large city blocks – while others were concerned that the developers did not include enough mixed-housing units, did not allot adequate parking, or did not plan for ecological events such as storm water surges and flooding. On the other hand, two of the three designs have also garnered enthusiasm. “I admire the way the ‘city walk’ concept flows through the property…and allows pedestrians to connect to other parts of Providence,” commented one neighbor of the proposal by the Parent + Diamond firm. Others praised the brick exterior of the Urbanica design, as well as that firm’s appealing facade on South Main Street, dynamic ground-level gathering spaces, and apartments for artists.

Given the dramatic influx of housing developments into the area in the coming months and years, Fox Point Neighborhood Association hopes the winning developer will consider neighbor feedback when modifying its plans.

Call for feedback on temporary urban trail on Hope Street

The Providence Streets Coalition and Thriving Places Collaborative are working with local partners, residents, and businesses to test a temporary “urban trail” on Hope Street in Providence next spring from Lauriston Avenue to Olney Street, as per the City of Providence’s Great Streets Plan. The trail would consolidate parking to one side of Hope Street and create a trail for walking, jogging, rolling, and biking on the other side. The temporary trail would be in place for just a few days, and give residents and business owners a chance to experience this potential change in 3D, interact with it, and give their informed feedback.

The data collected before, during, and after the demonstration will help local community groups and the City of Providence as they plan future street interventions for safer, more sustainable, and more inclusive mobility. PVD Streets Coalition is soliciting input on what community members would like to see happen as part of this temporary trail experiment. 

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