Neighborhood News: Community Plant Sale & Little League, Jewelry District Business Boom, Plans for New Brown Dorms & Beautifying Benefit Street

An overview of what’s happening around the city right now

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SCLT Plant Sale and Elmwood Little League

Daffodils and crocuses are blooming, adding cheerful spots of color here and there throughout Elmwood. It’s time to think about planting veggies, herbs, and flowers in your yard, on your patio, or in a community garden plot through the Southside Community Land Trust. Compost pickup for SCLT members began in April, and you can watch for their virtual Plant Sale happening in May. In the meantime, for neighbors who have begun cleaning their yards and gardens, the Providence Public Works Department began yard debris pick-ups last month. It’s a good time to take a walk through the neighborhood and document potholes and debris on the streets and sidewalks and report them to the City by calling 311, submitting photos via the PVD311 app, or Tweeting documentation at @PVD311. As summer approaches, the Elmwood Little League (ELL) is aiming for a real season this year with games played on five Reservoir Triangle fields and the possible addition of a minor girls softball team. Tryouts continue on May 1, and games will begin the week of May 10 and run through mid-July. To ensure every child in South Providence who wants to play is able to, registration fees have been reduced, and financial aid is available for families in distress due to COVID-19. 

 

Business boom in the Jewelry District

The Jewelry District Association reports that new retail, dining, and fitness spots are planning to open in the District in May and the months ahead. L’Artisan Cafe & Bakery kicked off the Jewelry District’s 2021 small-business boomlet by opening its third location March 13 in River House on Point Street, and Dune Brothers, the popular seafood shack, has re-opened on Dyer Street. Uncorked unpacked its fine wines and spirits for a soft-opening in April on Hospital Street, and around the corner on Bassett Street, they plan to open Uncorked Vino Bar & Deli in late May, serving gourmet small plates in a garden court and on a roof deck. At 225 Dyer Street, Bayberry Gardens will be opening their new full-service restaurant in the Wexford Building in late May featuring outdoor terrace seating for 100. Seven Stars Bakery will be opening their fifth location before long in the former Olga’s Cup & Saucer. And to help you shape up, Rare Form Pilates is coming to Bassett Street this summer. As Rhode Island re-opens for a healthy post-COVID era, things are looking bright for living, working and playing in the Jewelry District.

 

Brown presents new designs for Brook Street Dorms

In response to neighborhood concerns over the size and massing of its original designs, Brown has presented new designs for two new dormitories at Ward 1 public meetings and meetings with College Hill Neighborhood Association, Fox Point Neighborhood Association, and the Providence Preservation Society’s Planning and Architectural Review committee. Planned for each side of Brook Street between Power and Charlesfield Streets, the dorms were originally proposed as two buildings of 80,000 and 50,000 square feet; now, the new dormitory on the west side of the street will be reduced by 16,000 square feet and both lowered from five to three stories while offering additional green space and public portals to the campus. This will reduce student beds by 50, housing about 350 students across both. By reducing the scale of the project, it will not encroach into the Providence Historic District’s boundary line, and to lessen traffic around the building, plans for ground-level retail space will be eliminated. “Our goal is to house more of our students on campus so as to enrich their academic experience while also reducing pressure on the adjoining residential neighbors,” said Katie Silberberg, Director of Community Relations. Assuming final approvals, initial demolition and site prep work will begin this October with completion of the project set for fall 2023. Plans and a detailed presentation for the new resident halls is available for viewing at Brown.edu/news/2021-04-05/brook.

 

Beautifying Benefit Street with greenery and restorations

The Mile of History Association continues the arduous effort to restore some of the antique lamp posts on Benefit Street. Grants have been secured and generous gifts made by several MoHA members, and two City Council members have also helped in this endeavor by committing their appropriated monies. The city has put the lamp project out to bid with anticipation of a capable contractor being selected soon. Meanwhile, a notable landscape architect has been hired by MoHA to design sidewalks, tree wells, roads, crosswalks, and public spaces on Benefit Street. MoHA continues its commitment to preserve and protect all the historic homes and buildings on the street with a focus on encouraging off-premises landlords to uphold proper maintenance of certain properties; assembling a pamphlet that would suggest appropriate historic paint colors for homes on the street is being considered. With the help of the city forester and the Providence Neighborhood Planting Program, MoHA anticipates several trees will be planted in empty tree wells this spring. A few members have been dedicated to restoring all the antique fire boxes on Benefit Street, as well, with one box remaining in the process of restoration. With COVID-19 concerns, several cultural, educational, and social events have been tentatively planned for late summer.   

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