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2014 State of the City Address

Mayor Angel Taveras delivered his final State of the City Address last night at City Hall:


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Image from Angel Taveras Twitter feed


Working and Investing in Providence

Mayor Angel Taveras – 2014 State of the City Address
Tuesday, February 11, 2014

(as prepared for delivery)

Mr. President, honorable members of the Providence City Council, distinguished guests, and fellow residents of our great Capital City –

In April, I had the pleasure to be present for the Omni Group’s purchase of the C.J. Fox factory. Anyone who drives on Route 95 South through our city knows the Omni Group has been hard at work renovating the complex at the entrance to historic Federal Hill.

The Omni Group is a homegrown company, headquartered in Providence. Like most businesses, they went through some tough times beginning in 2008. Financing their project became a major challenge when Wall Street imploded and the economy went into a tailspin.

But the Omni Group made it through the hard times, and now they are moving forward and investing $5 million to convert the old factory complex into office space. Bill DiStefano, Omni’s President and CEO, told me they decided to expand their business again because they believe Providence is heading in the right direction.

I tell you this story because it speaks to the overall state of our city. The state of our city is improving.

We’ve been through the hard times of the Great Recession. But we never lost hope. And we never stopped believing that better days were ahead. We are working hard and making investments that will propel Providence into a future of greater economic strength and prosperity.

I want to talk to you tonight about all we’ve done to move Providence forward in the past year. And then I want to talk to you about what we will do in the coming months.

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Providence Named as Grand Prize Winner in Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Challenge

bloombergMayor Angel Taveras joined today with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to announce that the City of Providence is the grand prize winner in the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Challenge, a competition to inspire American cities to generate innovative ideas that solve major challenges and improve city life – and that ultimately can be shared with other cities to improve the well-being of the nation. Providence was selected as a Mayors Challenge winner out of a pool of over 300 applicant cities, based on four criteria: vision, ability to implement, potential for impact, and potential for replication.

Providence will be awarded a $5 million innovation prize to implement its idea to improve the vocabularies of preschool-age children throughout the City by measuring and rapidly increasing the number of words spoken in their households. Providence will also receive a sculpture created by world-renowned designer Olafur Eliasson to commemorate each of the Mayors Challenge winners.



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Providence 2013 State of the City Address


Mayor Angel Taveras

2013 State of the City Address

Providence Is Recovering

Tuesday, January 29, 2013 • (as prepared for delivery)

Photo of the Mayor delivering the State of the City from the Mayor's Office.

Photo of the Mayor delivering the State of the City from the Mayor’s Office.

Governor, Mr. President, honorable members of the Providence City Council, distinguished guests, and my fellow residents of our great Capital City –

One year ago I stood before you in this Chamber with an urgent message for our City and the entire State of Rhode Island. Providence was in peril. Despite many difficult decisions and painful sacrifices made to pull Providence back from the brink, we were still $22 million short of closing a $110 million structural deficit.

Crucial steps necessary to navigate our City safely through our Category 5 fiscal hurricane had not yet come to pass. We still needed to reform our unsustainable pensions. And we needed Providence’s large, tax-exempt institutions to contribute more.

As I stood before you on February 13, 2012, Providence was running out of cash, and running out of time. In the months that followed, there were some who said Providence could not avoid filing for bankruptcy.

BACK FROM THE BRINK

Today it is my privilege to deliver a much more hopeful report on the State of our City: Providence is recovering.

Through collaborative efforts and shared sacrifice, we have all but eliminated our City’s $110 million structural deficit, and we expect to end this year with a balanced budget. Working together, we have accomplished what few believed possible.

We were determined to address the root causes of Providence’s fiscal emergency and prepared to act unilaterally if necessary. And we knew our City would never achieve a lasting recovery without addressing our unsustainable and spiraling pension costs.

In April, following months of actuarial analysis and public testimony, this City Council unanimously approved a pension reform ordinance that put Providence’s pension system on a sustainable path.

We recognized that passing the ordinance would likely lead to a high-stakes lawsuit with no real winners – because a decision in favor of the status quo would push our City over the brink. However, faced with the challenge of negotiating pension changes with more than 2,000 retirees who were not represented by a single entity, we saw no alternative.

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News & Notes

A Crusade to Walk Every Street in Lansing [City Saunter]

Lansing, Michigan native, Ariniko O’Meara has decided to walk every street in her city (400+ miles) and document the experience on her blog.

The Steel Yard announces their spring/summer courses [the Steel Yard]

City Is Looking at Sewage Treatment as a Source of Energy [The New York Times]

New York City’s sewage presents a daunting and costly challenge: it creates foul odors and often contaminates waterways.

But the city is now casting its sewage treatment plants and the vast amounts of sludge, methane gas and other byproducts of the wastewater produced by New Yorkers, as an asset — specifically, as potential sources of renewable energy.

Transportation Reformers Applaud Obama’s Six-Year Transpo Plan [Streetsblog]

A fix-it-first policy for roads. More support for livability programs. Additional transit investment. Competitive infrastructure grants. In his new six-year, $556 billion surface transportation proposal, President Obama is hitting all the right notes with transportation reform advocates.

As part of his 2012 budget proposal – released yesterday – the President put forward a plan that would double investment in transit, give a boost to bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, and generally chip away at policies that have led to billions going to waste on highways to nowhere.

Get Out of My Way, You Jerk! Researchers Study ‘Sidewalk Rage,’ Seeking Insights on Anger’s Origins and Coping Techniques [The Wall Street Journal]

You don’t need a car to get road rage.

For many people, few things are more infuriating than slow walkers—those seemingly inconsiderate people who clog up sidewalks, grocery aisles and airport hallways while others fume behind them.

Researchers say the concept of “sidewalk rage” is real. One scientist has even developed a Pedestrian Aggressiveness Syndrome Scale to map out how people express their fury. At its most extreme, sidewalk rage can signal a psychiatric condition known as “intermittent explosive disorder,” researchers say. On Facebook, there’s a group called “I Secretly Want to Punch Slow Walking People in the Back of the Head” that boasts nearly 15,000 members.

Shameless Plug: Please feel free to nominate us as Best Blog in the Phoenix’s Best of 2011. You could also ask your friends, your mom, and your cat to nominate us if you like.

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Meet Zozo

Streetfilms has launched a new website aimed at teaching kids about car-free transportation. Meet Zozo:

Today we are happy to announce that Zozo, our purple, livable streets mascot finally has his own website! Just go to meetzozo.com to check out all ten of the Zozo shorts – including films about walking, biking, car sharing and transit as Zozo walks the streets of Park Slope in Brooklyn, NY.

It’s very educational for the youngest ones in your home, but it’s also about Zozo being his Zozo fun self and there’s lots in here that will make the adults smile too. Our staff here at Streetfilms shot & edited all of these and here we present you with a funny montage featuring outtakes and other fun moments that didn’t make the cut. As you will see, Zozo is a charmer.

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Registration open for spring/summer courses at the Steel Yard


Registration is now open for the Steel Yard’s Spring/Summer Course Season!

We cannot wait for our studio to start humming with creative activity this season–it’s time to get our torches, forges, and kilns fired up!

Check out our courses page for the full lineup of offerings in Welding, Ceramics, Blacksmithing, Jewelry, and Glass. In addition to our regular introductory courses you’ll find some great new opportunities like:

  • Building Bike Trailers
  • Stained Glass
  • Hollowware
  • Glass Casting
  • Making Jewelry: Becoming a Small Business

Courses fill fast, so be sure to visit our website to register soon.

We can’t wait to see you in the studio!

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