Neighborhood News: Special Birthday, Promoting City Walkability, Apartment Complex Breaks Ground & Welcoming the Observatory Neighborhood Association

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


Residents celebrate local icon

Fox Point neighbors were no doubt disappointed to see papered windows on Friends Market, the Portuguese grocery and neighborhood mainstay that, like some other local businesses, closed temporarily in 2020 due to the coronavirus. But many were surprised and delighted to see the storefront light up briefly this past November for a boisterous birthday celebration. Manuel Pedroso, owner of the store for almost 70 years, turned 101 – prompting neighbors and family members to mark the occasion with balloons, huge posters, old photographs, and an outdoor caravan-parade. Neighbors and passersby were thrilled. Indeed the party not only celebrated a neighborhood icon, but brightened a difficult year.


Neighborhood collective promotes city walkability

Walk PVD, a volunteer collective passionate about promoting pedestrian-friendly communities across Providence, invites neighborhood small businesses to apply for their Ped-Friendly Business Program. The reciprocal partnership not only supports member businesses with technical assistance and online promotion but also helps fulfill the organization’s mission of creating a more walkable city. “Technical assistance includes navigating sidewalk or street infrastructure issues, brainstorming and design assistance with outdoor displays or cafe setups, and peer-to-peer sharing opportunities with initiatives such as walk-up windows or a dog-friendly policy,” says co-founder C.J. Opperthauser. “We also have a map of our program members, which users can pull up in Google Maps.” Walking events, like the PVD Boundaries Project traversing the perimeter of the city by foot, and other community projects promote safe streets and positive pedestrian experiences. For more information, follow #onlyonfootpvd on social and visit online. 


Apartment complex breaks ground in the Jewelry District

Ground was recently broken for the Exeter apartment complex in the I-195 parcel bounded by Clifford, Richmond, Chestnut, and Friendship Streets. As a result, the new bike lanes on Clifford have been cut from their original run of four blocks to just two, and repairs were made to the battered barriers guarding the remaining two blocks. Jewelry District Association representatives are concerned about the impacts of these changes, explaining, “For the next two years, this expensive urban-living experiment will lead bikers from nowhere to nowhere.” The association is contacting the Mayor’s office with these concerns. Their monthly public Zoom meeting on December 8 offered updates on major issues, including the continuing vandalism on the Pedestrian Bridge, the fight against the Fane Tower, changes happening in the District, news about how restaurants are coping with the pandemic, and more. Visit their website to find a recording of the meeting. 


Getting involved with the Observatory Neighborhood Association

Covering the area of Rochambeau Avenue down to Olney Street and the east side of Hope Street to the west side of Elmgrove, Observatory Neighborhood Association joins our neighborhood listings and invites residents to reach out for opportunities to engage, ask questions, or request meeting minutes. This past fall, the association participated in the Providence Coalition of Neighborhoods Zoom meeting, which covered how neighborhoods have been adapting during the time of COVID-19, including how the neighborhoods can help each other. The Observatory Neighborhood Association has been an active part of the Ward 3 Democratic Committee’s efforts to provide masks distributed for free to senior housing on Doyle Avenue and the Charlesgate Nursing and Senior Living Center. The group also works closely with Nirva LaFortune on community meetings in Ward 3. 


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