Update 08/30, 7:00pm:
Assistant City Solicitor Michael Tarro told The Associated Press he was terminated Tuesday but would not speculate on the reason. A spokesman for Mayor Angels Taveras said only that Tarro had been “separated” from city employment.
Update 08/27, 4:15pm:
Press Release from the City of Providence:
Grove Street School Building Owners Further Demolish Property after City Officials Revoke Demolition Permit
PROVIDENCE, RI – The owners of the former Grove Street School took down more of the building late this morning, without a demolition permit and despite a direct order not to proceed from the City of Providence Director of Inspections & Standards and the City’s Building Official.
Mayor Angel Taveras expressed deep frustration and disappointment with the property owners for again attempting to raze the historic building without authorization, and said the City will pursue all legal remedies against them including criminal and civil charges.
Late last night Mayor Angel Taveras and Ward 13 City Councilman Bryan Principe toured the partially demolished Grove Street School to discuss the Fire Marshal’s decision to condemn the building and pending actions to demolish the structure in advance of Hurricane Irene.
Early this morning, engineers came to the site and upon consultation were able to propose a strategy for securing the building through the storm. Serious issues remained with the building but officials believed that the structure could be temporarily secured.
Later this morning, a demolition crew hired by the property owner arrived at the 95 Grove Street property. The City of Providence’s Building Official and the Director of Inspections & Standards both informed the crew that the demolition permit had been revoked. Despite this order, the contractor entered the property and proceeded to further demolish the building until Providence police arrived.
Update 08/27, 11:00am:
From PPS via Facebook:
Executive Director James Hall, at Grove Street School now, reports that the City has concluded that it would be safer to secure the building than tear it down. An independent structural engineer has advised the city that the building can be made safe, although demolition could proceed next week.
We’ve received word that the City plans to demolish Grove Street School tomorrow morning citing risks related to Hurricane Irene.
From the Providence Preservation Society:
Earlier today I received word from Thom Deller [Providence Director of Planning and Development] that Kerry Anderson (building official) was moving to demolish the Grove Street School in anticipation of the hurricane. He and Bob Azar had requested a second opinion from a structural engineer.
I pointed out that no such action was being taken against the Dynamo House (ALSO OPEN TO THE WEATHER), or to the best of my knowledge, other buildings with scaffolding (which could become airborne) around the city.
Also, repeatedly, we have asked the city to go on the property to secure the building, which they have claimed they were legally unable to do. Tomorrow they wil finally act decisively but in a way which will damage this neighborhood. Their prirties are wrong.
The school needs your help. Please do anything you can, call anyone you can to stop this action and make it clear that this will be a negative national story for the administration, an that it is the wrong decision.
Press Release from the City:
Former Grove Street School Scheduled To Be Taken Down Tomorrow, Saturday, August 27
Partially Demolished Structure Poses Very Serious Safety Threat During Hurricane Irene
The former Grove Street School building has been declared a very serious safety hazard and will be demolished tomorrow, August 27, in advance of Hurricane Irene’s arrival in Providence.
Several weeks ago, the state Building Board of Review ordered the City of Providence to consider demolition of the partially demolished structure on Grove Street in Providence’s Broadway neighborhood citing serious concerns about the building’s structural integrity.
A site inspection was conducted on Thursday, August 25, and it was concluded that the building poses a very serious public safety hazard. It was determined today that there is a high probability for total building collapse and/or flying of loose structural and nonstructural components if demolition is not completed before Hurricane Irene’s arrival on Sunday.
The City Fire Marshal conducted a second evaluation today and condemned the building. The structure is scheduled to be completely demolished tomorrow by a private contractor paid for by the property owner.
“I am deeply disappointed that the Grove Street School building has to come down. Faced with the risk of collapse, and knowing that the building has been condemned by the Fire Marshal, we cannot put public safety at risk by allowing the structure to stand. I will aggressively pursue all legal options against the building owners, who attempted to raze the building without approval and succeeded in partially demolishing part of the building before being stopped by the City, and will hold them accountable for the loss of this historic property,” said Mayor Angel Taveras.