For the past year, Fox Point neighbors have debated the fate of the Crook Point Bascule Bridge, the railway bridge over the Seekonk River that has been frozen in the “up” position for nearly 45 years. Several neighbors spoke in favor of restoring the structure at a pre-COVID-19 meeting of the Fox Point Neighborhood Association, saying that the bridge provides a special, even iconic, sense of place for residents and passersby. Others pointed to the dire state of the City budget and contended that the benefits of restoration don’t outweigh the costs. Since then, there has been movement to restore or reuse the structure in some way. Not only has the Providence Preservation Society placed the bridge on its annual Most Endangered Properties list, but the City has also initiated a design competition “to solicit creative ideas” for its reuse. Entries will be considered throughout the winter and early spring, with the help of jurors from a variety of spheres, including representation from neighborhood organizations.
The Jewelry District Association recently launched their new website, which includes news, updates, and features about this ever-changing area of our city. As development continues to remake the District, the website will keep neighbors up-to-date on construction, new proposals, and any issues that arise. It also provides information about the district’s history, items of current interest, and glimpses of life in the neighborhood yesterday and today. The calendar lists JDA meeting dates and other upcoming events. Free monthly public meetings welcome all to attend and consist of a lively forum on issues of the day, with presentations by people behind new development projects and a variety of other special guests. Meetings start at 5pm on the second Tuesday of the month. Past Zoom meetings, from June through October, can be viewed via links on the website, too. To attend their next meeting, visit JewelryDistrict.org/JDA-Meetings and click on “Next Meeting”. For issues and concerns or to add a calendar item, click “Contact” to let them know.
Wayland Square has been alive with people and events all fall! Columbus Day weekend and Halloween featured closed streets, outdoor dining, activities for families, and treasure hunts. The Wayland Square Merchants Association has taken the lead on keeping stores open later and finding ways to safely keep folks in the square through the holiday season. Holiday Flare in the Square kicked off in November with continued outdoor dining, extended retail hours, live music, and festive pop-up shops, with the possibility of more free parking. The shopping event will continue December 5-6, 12-13, and 19-20. November Wayland Square Neighborhood Association meeting topics included development, supporting residents and merchants, and connecting with City Councilors.
The State held virtual public forums in October for two development teams to present proposals for the renovation and reuse of the West End historic “castle”, the Cranston Street Armory. Responding to a request for proposals that outlined community priorities for the space, both submissions incorporate local business and nonprofit proponents, public access to the building, and consideration for the history behind the structure. The first proposal, submitted by the BCRI Group, aims to develop a reimagined Armory that serves all by offering human and community development, according to project lead Brittany Claud. Various new uses would range from a film and TV studio and office spaces to a food hall concept and arts and cultural events, among others. Second, urban design and development group Scout proposes a three-phase plan to transform the Armory into a neighborhood hub by creating an outdoor stage for public programming, reopening the hall as a public space venue, and occupying the basement and towers with small businesses. Both presentations and Q&A sessions can be viewed online, and the West Broadway Neighborhood Association encourages folks to learn more and offer feedback.