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→ PBN: JWU reveals $40M academic building plan for Jewelry District

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Johnson & Wales University Monday unveiled plans for a new $40 million academic building on former Interstate 195 land in Providence’s Jewelry District.

The building will sit at the corner of Friendship and Chestnut Streets and serve the university’s School of Engineering and Design and College of Arts and Sciences, Johnson & Wales said in a news release.

Very exciting! This will also free up their building at the corner of Westminster and Mathewson for other uses.

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2014 Mayoral Candidate Survey – Jorge Elorza (D)

Jorge Elorza (D)

ElorzaPhotoWebsite: elorzaformayor.com
Phone: 401-400-2430
Email: info@elorzaformayor.com
Facebook: JorgeElorzaforMayor
Twitter: @ElorzaForMayor

Bio

Jorge Elorza is a Providence native, former Housing Court Judge, law professor, accountant, and community activist. He grew up on the West End, the son of Guatemalan immigrants, and graduated Classical High School before going on to URI and Harvard Law. The murder of a childhood friend brought him back to Providence from a promising career on Wall Street, and he has dedicated his life to serving the community ever since. He is running for Mayor to make sure that the opportunities that gave him a pathway out of poverty are passed on to the next generation of Providence kids.

Survey

1. Other Cities
It isn’t always necessary to reinvent the wheel when it comes to best practices. Across the globe small cities like Providence are doing amazing things to make their cities more livable, increase their tax base, and improve services. What city (or cities) do you look to for inspiration of what you would like Providence to be like or to strive for? What are the characteristics of those cities that you think Providence should emulate?

I look to many cities around the country as models for what Providence can and should do. One of the reasons why I want to be mayor in the first place is because I believe that the innovative leadership and substantive changes happening around the world right now are happening at the municipal level, and mayors are at the forefront of this.

Throughout this campaign, I have often referenced other cities as models for best practices and big ideas. In my plan for full service community schools, I looked to Cincinnati’s community schools model as an example for both engaging community partners, and management through its Local School Decision Making Committees. In that same plan, I also pointed to Chicago’s “Grow Your Own Teachers” Initiative as a model for encouraging diversity in our teaching force. Portland, Oregon was truly the model for my Export Providence Plan, which calls for doubling our export economy in the next five years; the Greater Portland Export Initiative was launched to achieve the same goal for that city, and there is much we can learn from it. I have often called for more police to live in the city, and Atlanta’s Secure Neighborhoods Initiative provides some great ideas for incentivizing officers to do so. My arts and culture platform calls for the creation of a weeklong festival in Providence that is directly inspired by Austin, Texas’ South By Southwest festival and the major impact it has made on that city’s economy. If I have the privilege of being elected, I have pledged to accept applications for my transition committees just as Pittsburgh, PA Mayor Bill Peduto has done. Even here in Rhode Island there are cities that inspire me: for instance, to address school funding, the City of Central Falls hired a part time grant writer for its school department at an annual salary of $30,000. In his first year, he brought in $600,000 in outside funding. I would like to add more grant writing staff across Providence’s many departments to help close funding gaps.


2. Snow Removal
The city has an ordinance that states that the abutting property owner must remove snow from sidewalks. This ordinance has gone under-enforced for years creating a major public safety issue for the city’s residents every time it snows. The city and the state are notable offenders in not clearing snow from sidewalks abutting their property (sidewalks abutting parks, public buildings, on overpasses, etc.). How will you hold private property owners, the state, and the City itself accountable for removing snow in a timely fashion, and how will you ensure that snow removal ordinances are enforced?

For private property owners, I will copy the successful example of other cities that maintain a “carrot and stick” approach to enforcing our snow removal ordinance. Exemplary businesses will be rewarded with certificates and neighborhood appreciation events. Businesses that frequently fail to comply with the law will be fined. And, as Mayor, I will ask the General Assembly to enact enabling legislation allowing the City to clear snow on pedestrian sidewalks and lien non- compliant property owners.

At the City level, I believe that many of the enforcement problems are due to the fact that the Department of Public Works has not had a permanent director for over two years. As Mayor, I would commit to hiring a permanent director in my first 90 days.

In general, we need to leverage better tracking and reporting technologies to identify problems, then empower the new Director of Public Works to track response times and manage workflow accordingly.


3. Street Parking Permits and Snow
The City recently ended its longtime ban on overnight parking introducing a permit system for City residents to park on the street overnight. Allowing residents to park on the street relieves the need to provide off-street parking in paved lots and yards. Reducing this paved area has numerous environmental and quality of life benefits. Unfortunately the City bans parking during heavy snow with no options for people parking on the street, forcing the need for off-street spaces during these storms. Other cities, including Boston, allow street parking during storms, banning parking only on designated emergency snow routes. Would you support allowing people with permits to park on designated streets during snow storms?

I am supportive of the idea. I would need to talk more with Public Works, and public safety agencies like the Police and Fire Departments, before committing to making this happen. I would want to know more about the potential problems that might arise and how this would impact efforts to clear snow. If this can be done in a manageable way, I will support it.


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2014 Mayoral Candidate Survey – Chris Young (D)

Chris Young (D)

youngPhone: 401-477-6178
Facebook: Chris Young

Survey

1. Other Cities
It isn’t always necessary to reinvent the wheel when it comes to best practices. Across the globe small cities like Providence are doing amazing things to make their cities more livable, increase their tax base, and improve services. What city (or cities) do you look to for inspiration of what you would like Providence to be like or to strive for? What are the characteristics of those cities that you think Providence should emulate?

I have the highest aspirations for Providence and this is one of the core reasons I can keep running for public office. I have run now 4 times for Mayor of Providence receiving 26% of the vote in 2006. Our campaign has incorporated ideas for economic development from cities all over the world. I as a candidate believe in taking the best of other cities successes and using them for the benefit of Providence residents. Life is both the physical and spiritual, for what would life mean without both of these? We must not forget God has a role in our success for with God all things are possible.

The first thing we can do for economic development In Providence is we can offer tax incentives like repealing the car tax and also offering businesses, the Universities, hospitals and non-profits the ability to participate in a zero tax program, much like New York state is offering. New York state is offering a zero tax for businesses willing to locate in certain areas when they do co-ventures with the Universities.

The city of Providence will develop and adopt a comprehensive, long-term (at least ten years) fiscal program and vision for the city’s future so that its current and prospective residents, businesses, and institutions will have the confidence to invest in and grow within the city. This program must take into account expenses, revenues, capital and infrastructure needs, the benefits of regionalization and privatization, and future growth. The plan will also establish a strategy for bringing real estate and other taxes in line with comparable regional cities. A residential and commercial property tax reduction will occur. Hospitals and Universities that offer job and business development opportunities for companies who are willing to locate to Providence and bring with them 500 new jobs would get tax abatement opportunities.


2. Snow Removal
The city has an ordinance that states that the abutting property owner must remove snow from sidewalks. This ordinance has gone under-enforced for years creating a major public safety issue for the city’s residents every time it snows. The city and the state are notable offenders in not clearing snow from sidewalks abutting their property (sidewalks abutting parks, public buildings, on overpasses, etc.). How will you hold private property owners, the state, and the City itself accountable for removing snow in a timely fashion, and how will you ensure that snow removal ordinances are enforced?

The state can be fined and cleanup costs can be issued for intentional neglect and the state’s sovereign immunity would not protect the state on intentional neglect.

The city will plow streets and sidewalks in the future much like what is done in New York state. A fee will be assessed on private or public property that has received 3 or more warnings in one season. The fee will act as a lien after three years of non payment but will be waived for good cause. We will have citywide sidewalk plowing after the city is solvent.

The City of Rochester provides supplemental service to help property owners clear their sidewalks during a substantial winter storm and we can adopt some of it’s practices. Rochester is one of the few cities in the United States to provide this service to its residents and it is outlined as follows from Rochester city government.

Sidewalk Snow Plowing Facts

  • The City begins plowing sidewalks once new snowfall exceeds 3″.
  • The City plows all sidewalks that are at least five feet in width.
  • Each sidewalk plow run takes about five hours to complete.
  • The City plows 878 miles of sidewalks. These miles are divided into distinct sidewalk plow runs of approximately 15 miles.
  • Depending on the severity of a storm, sidewalk snow plowing policies must sometimes be altered meet the needs of the situation.
  • The City uses private contractors to plow sidewalks.
  • Sidewalk plowing usually happens in the evening and early morning when pedestrian traffic is lowest, but this schedule is modified to respond to actual storm conditions.

Fees

  • Sidewalk snow plowing is financed by an embellishment fee on your property tax bill that is based on the front footage of a property.
  • Embellishment fees, charges for specific services, are included on the annual property tax bill. The fees are based on a property’s front footage. To figure out an embellishment charge, the embellishment rate is multiplied by the property’s front footage. For corner properties, the front footage comprises 1/3 of the longer side’s footage plus the full footage of the lot’s shorter side.

3. Street Parking Permits and Snow
The City recently ended its longtime ban on overnight parking introducing a permit system for City residents to park on the street overnight. Allowing residents to park on the street relieves the need to provide off-street parking in paved lots and yards. Reducing this paved area has numerous environmental and quality of life benefits. Unfortunately the City bans parking during heavy snow with no options for people parking on the street, forcing the need for off-street spaces during these storms. Other cities, including Boston, allow street parking during storms, banning parking only on designated emergency snow routes. Would you support allowing people with permits to park on designated streets during snow storms?

Yes, our campaign would adopt the Boston parking policy during snow storms and we support allowing people with permits to park on designated streets during snow storms. I lived in Boston during my college years at Boston University and found the parking program easy and effective.


(more…)

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2014 Mayoral Candidate Survey – Daniel S. Harrop, M.D. (R)

Daniel S. Harrop, M.D. (R) Website: Harrop.org Phone: 401-390-2790 Email: HarropVictory@gmail.com Facebook: Dr. Daniel Harrop Twitter: @DanHarrop Bio Dr. Dan Harrop is a native of West Warwick, RI. He received his B.A., M.D. and post-doctoral training in Psychiatry at Brown University, and his M.B.A. from Heriott-Watt University, Edinburgh, Scotland. Retired from nearly 30 years as […]

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News & Notes

Kansas City. (cc) Zach Werner → The New York Times: Millennials Going to Kansas City, to Live and Work On one of the hottest days of the year in mid-July, Michael Knight, a real estate developer, made note of the torn-up street outside Commerce Tower, which opened in 1965 as this region’s first modern high-rise […]

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Air Quality Alert – Free RIPTA – August 27, 2014

From RIPTA: All regular RIPTA buses and trolleys, but excluding special services, will be free on Wednesday, August 27th , 2014. The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management is predicting that air quality will reach unhealthy levels in portions of Rhode Island during the afternoon on Wednesday. A very hot and very humid air mass […]

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Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting – August 20, 2014

Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting August 20, 2014, 4:30 PM 444 Westminster Street, First Floor 4:35 – Katie Goodrum, Congress for the New Urbanism – CNU and impacts on bike/ped in Providence 4:55 – Sidewalk access during construction – Continued discussion 5:10 – Road and sidewalk conditions in the Wickenden/South Main area – […]

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City Plan Commission Meeting – August 19, 2014

City Plan Commission Meeting Tuesday, August 19, 2014 – 4:45pm 444 Westminster Street, First Floor Opening Session Call to Order Roll Call Approval of minutes from June 29th meeting – for action Director’s Report City Council Referral Adrian Hall Way – Image from Google Street View 1. Referral 3381 – Petition to abandon Adrian Hall […]

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Better than nothing is not good enough

New CVS in Seattle’s Uptown neighborhood will feature two-levels of apartments and underground parking. – Rendering by Schemata Workshop I’ve been hearing the same refrain lately when it comes to less than stellar development proposals in Providence, ‘it may not be great, but it is better than what is there now.’ The McDonald’s and Family […]

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→ WPRO: Former Rhode Island Mall to become factory outlets

Interior concept rendering from Winstanley Enterprises The developers of the former Rhode Island Mall are hoping to open “The Outlets at Rhode Island Mall” late next year. Winstanley Enterprises of Mass. and Surrey Equities of New York bought the mall back in 2012 and had previously planned to turn the vacant shopping center into several […]

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→ ProJo: R.I. convention authority to fund parking garage construction behind Garrahy courthouse

The R.I. Convention Center Authority said Tuesday it will put up the $43 million needed to build a parking garage adjacent to the Garrahy Judicial Complex on Dorrance Street in downtown Providence. “The transformation of the current surface parking lot represents a unique opportunity to addres current parking capacity deficiencies and provide a mechanism to […]

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383 West Fountain Street Renovations

Way, way, way back in 2005 in the UrbanPlanet days, Armory Revival had plans for a new building at this site. As with many things in the middle of the last decade, that didn’t happen. Fast forward to today though and Armory Revival is doing a nice renovation of the block. From their website: This […]

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