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City Council Announces “Neighborhoods First” Infrastructure Program

Providence City Council Press Release:

City Council Announces “Neighborhoods First” Infrastructure Program

PROVIDENCE – The City Council has secured more than four million dollars ($4 million) to fund neighborhood-based infrastructure projects throughout the city, according to Office of the City Council. The funds will be used for parks, playgrounds, sidewalk and roadway repaving, and other neighborhood improvements.

Council Finance Chairman John J. Igliozzi, Ward 7, explained that the funds were pieced together from different sources, including proceeds from the sale of the civic center, the remaining 2001 capital improvement bond funds, and from the Providence Public Building Authority. “The Council felt strongly that the city’s neighborhoods need an infusion of resources to help improve, repair, and/or maintain the basic amenities and facilities for residents,” Igliozzi stated. “This money will be a shot in the arm for our city, and especially those neighborhoods hard hit by foreclosures, where the quality of life has been threatened.”

Tagged “Neighborhoods First,” the goal of the projects is to invest public funds into improvements that will benefit Providence neighborhoods and residents directly. “Often, Downtown and the major commercial corridors get the lion’s share of the resources,” Majority Leader Terrence M. Hassett, Ward 12, observed. “The Neighborhoods First program will allow the Council to complete neighborhood-focused projects that will have an immediate, positive impact on residents.”

Council President Peter S. Mancini, Ward 14, said that the funds will provide residents in his area access to improved park facilities, through significant improvements to the playground at Fargnoli Park. “I am proud that, in the midst of a recession, the Council was able to come together, combine resources, and allocate those resources toward a program that will provide an immediate benefit to our neighborhoods,” Mancini said. “In my ward, that translates directly into providing more green space and safe places for children to play outside.”

Also anticipating the rollout of the program is Councilman Leon Tejada, Ward 8, who has several initiatives planned, including a complete rehabilitation of Benedict Street, which will include the installation of new curbing and sidewalks, road resurfacing, and improved drainage. “The Council program will quickly pump money into our neighborhoods, and help Council members invest that money into projects that will make a big difference.”

Igliozzi noted several other pending projects including a significant sidewalk repaving effort, and intersection project at Killingly and Planfield Streets in Ward 7, and repaving projects in Ward 12, where Councilman Hassett will focus resources at the heavily-traveled intersection of Chalkstone Avenue and Raymond Street. Igliozzi said that, “Projects like these|big and small|will be getting underway in every ward of the city, and will have a major impact. They are an important way of communicating to city residents that the Council is serious about neighborhood investment.”

He added that many of the Neighborhoods First projects already are out to bid and will be completed during the spring, summer and fall.

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