Neighborhood News: Wayland Rebrands, Workshop on Equity in Local Government & Mixed-Use Development in Fox Point

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


Wayland Neighborhood’s rebranding and new destinations

The former Wayland Square Neighborhood Association is excited to rebrand their organization as “Wayland Neighborhood” to not only emphasize their commercial square of dining and boutique shopping but also the residential neighborhood their numbers represent. Take a stroll through the area and you’ll see historic homes on wide avenues and charming streets, Patterson Park with its river views, luLoxury condo and apartment living, the Lincoln School and The Croft School, quaint parks, and direct entry to the East Bay Bike path and Blackstone Boulevard.

Despite COVID, Katherine Touafek, president of Wayland Neighborhood Association, explains that several shops and restaurants have recently opened to expand both the essential and “must-have” services that already populate this East Side neighborhood. Among these new locally owned businesses is BORA, a jewelry shop featuring one-of-a-kind handcrafted pieces in all styles. For fresh, modern Mexican cuisine over cocktails and cool vibes, try Diego’s East Side, the third location of the Diego’s brand found in Newport and Middletown. For exquisite pastries, head to Madrid European Bakery, or for grab-and-go health food, Wayland Fresh is the new sister business of Mare Rooftop. A new cookie shop, Feed the Cheeks, is also coming soon (see page 75 for details). From shoe repair, supermarkets, spas, and boutique gyms to longstanding shopping and dining destinations, this unique slice of Providence continues to evolve.


SPNA leads community session on equity and local decision-making

The Rhode Island League of Cities and Towns held their Annual Convention virtually this year on January 28, featuring workshops on public policy and community topics. As part of their participation in the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee for the RI Chapter of the American Planning Association, South Providence Neighborhood Association co-organized and presented “Promoting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Local Decision Making”. SPNA Chairperson Dwayne Keys facilitated the workshop on the impact of government decisions on everyday lives, including those concerning transportation, zoning, housing, and investment in cities and towns that have created hardships for low-income residents and communities of color.

Representatives with experience as municipal planners, community advocates, and private sector contractors to municipalities came together to demonstrate how a more inclusive process leads to better decision-making, specifically in public projects, and ways municipalities can foster inclusivity. Attendees came away from the session with clear actions they can take to build a more equitable framework for public decision-making.

“I’m thankful to the Rhode Island League of Cities and Towns for welcoming us, plus providing the space and opportunity for us to present a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion in such decision-making processes,” says Keys. “The case studies, based on real-life scenarios, provided those who attended to share their perspective on how to navigate through such challenges while at the same time share ideas on such best practices.” Watch for a recording of the workshop at


Mixed-use development excites FPNA neighbors

The Fox Point Neighborhood Association has received a flurry of inquiries from neighbors regarding the construction project currently underway at the grassy intersections of Wickenden and South Main/South Water streets. People have asked: What is being built? And especially: Are rumors true that the project includes a Trader Joe’s?

Unfortunately, the architect and developer of the project have not yet revealed the grocer that will occupy the southern end of the mixed-use structure; that announcement will come in mid-June or July, according to principal developer Jordan Durham at a January public meeting. But Durham and principal architect Peter Case, both of Truth Box Inc, have shared other details. The project, which broke ground on Parcel 6 of I-195 land in December 2020, will include 62 mixed-income residential rental units, several ground-level commercial spaces, and the small grocery, all of which will be designed in a clean, modern style and built with natural, environmentally sustainable materials. And while Durham and Case have remained mum on one exciting detail, they have been responsive and communicative with neighbors and with FPNA since the very early stages of the project.



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