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Reservoir Triangle Stop & Shop

Roger Williams Park

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Allens Ave. Waterfront Development

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The greening of South Providence

Until recently, 17 Gordon Avenue was an idled factory in a blighted neighborhood. Now it's a "factory" for new environmental ideas.

BY KAREN LEE ZINER

Journal Staff Writer | September 26, 2004

PROVIDENCE -- When Nick Fitzhugh, Erich Stephens and Kathy Jellison come to work at 17 Gordon Avenue in South Providence, they park in a porous parking lot that feeds rainwater back underground instead of washing it down the sewers.

Inside, their computers and lights are powered by solar panels. A living roof -- planted with sedum -- will cool tenants in summer and warm them in winter. Carpeting made of recycled fibers lies underfoot, and burbling water sculptures soothe their workday stress.

Where yellow pencils and machine tools once rolled off production lines, entrepreneurs now incubate businesses. Fitzhugh's nonprofit promotes global understanding; Stephens promotes solar and wind power; and Jellison and her three partners work with nonprofit agencies.

Until recently, 17 Gordon Avenue was "a dump," an idled factory in a blighted neighborhood, says Joseph E. Newsome, president of the South Providence Development Corporation.

Broken windows. Burst pipes. Seepage and buckled floorboards. Shootings echoed in surrounding streets, and trash blew unbidden.

But Newsome and a cast of volunteer architects, industrial designers and environmental advocates he aligned envisioned an urban model.

They hoped to create the state's first nonprofit "green and smart" commercial building. They wanted to house a community of businesses where entrepreneurs could share ideas and create jobs for the next generation.

Some Development Corporation board members suggested they were dreaming.

"Everyone was sort of taken aback when we said we were going to create a green building in an urban, distressed neighborhood," says Newsome. "The board really did think this could be a crazy idea."

But they went ahead, and they succeeded. They created the 17 Gordon Avenue Business Incubator, housed in an energy-saving commercial building with "smart" technology, in the heart of South Providence.

BACK IN the mid-1990s, when the SPDC began identifying potential projects, Newsome bumped into Edward F. Connelly, a former labor lawyer who had just left an administrative post at the Solid Waste Management facility -- the Central Landfill in Johnston.

Sitting next to each other at a meeting for nonprofits, the two men began a "Where do you work, what do you do?" conversation.

Connelly said he wanted to start a business "with social and sustainable principles behind it." Watching the trash mount at the landfill, Connelly had been awakened to society's wastefulness and disregard.

"It's one thing to look in your own trash barrel. But when you see the whole state's trash barrels being emptied, you see waste from good materials that are thrown away," he says. "Furniture. Televisions. Fast-food containers to paper napkins and diapers" and other one-time-use products.

Newsome, a former state representative from Elmwood, was also pushing a marriage of economic development and "environmental stewardship."

In ensuing discussions, Newsome asked Connelly whether he had any ideas that might apply to health care, or have hospitals as clients.

"I said health care is going through a big re-examination of their waste systems," says Connelly, "and recycling and waste reduction might work."

Their idea bore fruit as "CleanScape," a recycling operation and for-profit subsidiary of SPDC, located in an old trolley barn at 150 Colfax St., a few blocks from 17 Gordon Avenue.

At CleanScape, they put local people to work, and built a client base that grew to more than 250 customers, among them Rhode Island Hospital, St. Joseph's Hospital, Miriam Hospital, Rhode Island and Providence colleges, and Texas Instruments.

CleanScape recycles cardboard, electronics, computers, pallets, bottles, cans, and plastics. Its workers clean vacant lots in South Providence.

"We provided 30 living-wage jobs for local residents, with health benefits," Connelly says.

AS THEY SCOURED South Providence for reusable buildings before starting CleanScape, Newsome and Connelly came upon 17 Gordon Avenue.

Says Connelly, "We knew it wouldn't work for recycling. But we said, 'Why don't we make this building a green building?' "

As pipes burst and taxes mounted at 17 Gordon Avenue, owner Mitchell Kizirian decided to get out from under, and sold the building to SPDC for $113,000.

Says Newsome, "He said he liked what we were doing in South Providence, and wanted the building to live on as a productive part of the landscape."

As they developed the project, the city backed it with municipal bonds, the State Department of Environmental Management helped finance the porous parking lots, and the state Energy Office helped finance the solar panels.

The federal government gave $1 million -- $150,000 more than SPDC had sought. Newsome says the government liked the idea of a "green" commercial building in a federal enterprise community.

Though there were "little tiny pockets of people around the country and the world who were doing interesting things with sustainable development," says Connelly, few models existed on which to pattern their project.

So they struck out on their own.

"We figured it out by doing it," Connelly says. "We really had a few basic core principles that we wanted to see implemented."

"There needs to be a respect for the people and the places that you're dealing with. There needs to be a concerted effort to improve the livelihood and the lifestyle of everybody that's living around you . . . and that's what we tried to do. That's the genesis of CleanScape. And the genesis of the Gordon Avenue project," he says.

The other point, he says, "is that the people in South Providence deserve to have this type of redevelopment and this type of technology as much as the people any place else. It can't be a class or a social thing. It has to permeate through society."

AT THE OUTSET, Newsome drew together people from different disciplines, and all corners of the state, for a volunteer planning committee.

They came from Brown University, Roger Williams University and the Rhode Island School of Design. They included architects, industrial designers, engineers and people interested in green businesses.

"We hired five architects and set up a learning laboratory to research state-of-the-art green features," Newsome says.

"Joe is a catalyst," says Providence architect Bob Stillings, one of the five architects hired to research green features. Initially a volunteer, Stillings provided the final project drawings for a less-than-market fee.

"He knows a lot of people," Stillings says of Newsome. "I won't say he steps out of the way, because Joe never steps out of the way. But he would sit there, ask strategic questions, and let everybody talk amongst themselves and come up with these things."

Bob Chew, owner of Solar Wrights in Barrington, joined the volunteer committee. He later became a paid subcontractor and installed the 10-kilowatt photovoltaic panels on the roof. (Those panels provide more than enough electricity for the building; the excess is sold to the New England Grid).

Chew, whose background is in environmental science and who started a solar company in 1977, says, "What really intrigued me was they wanted to incorporate a lot of green features -- the green roof, the water storage -- that was pretty neat. And then the recycled carpeting squares, the recycled trim for the vinyl baseboards, the recycled wood . . ."

Erich Stephens, executive director of People's Power & Light ("Rhode Island's nonprofit energy organization"), also volunteered. His company later signed on as a tenant.

Committee members "had different visions and expectations," says Stephens. Those who were more familiar with the green-building concept "might have gotten frustrated or disappointed that it didn't go further."

Lynne Bryan Phipps came to the project to bring "spirit and soul" to the building, and to enhance the experience of the people who work within it.

Phipps, a RISD-educated interior architect, works with Design One Consortium, a firm whose clientele are largely nonprofit corporations "that do good in the community and the world."

Phipps, who is also a United Church of Christ minister, says her specialty is the psychological effect of the built environment. The central question, is what is it like to be a person in the building?"

"What most people don't understand is that productivity is not just linked to how far from the copier you are. It's what you do with color and shape and form, by paying attention to the built environment."

Employee loyalty matters, she says. People want to find meaning in what they are doing, "and if what they do doesn't seem to matter, or organizing the space says nothing [about what they do], then it often doesn't work."

Phipps selected fabrics from Guilford of Maine, a company whose focus is recycled products. She chose grasscloth made of "natural fiber carpet" for the stairs, and rubber base molding made of recycled products.

She chose a green and terra cotta color scheme, "green for its soothing quality. Terra cotta -- the opposite end of the color wheel -- to provide liveliness and a light and contemporary feel."

In the atrium and outside the SPDC office, Phipps located "ambient sound" wall sculptures, whose streaming waters provide a sense of calm.

AS THE WORK continued in February 2003, Mayor David N. Cicilline visited 17 Gordon Avenue to talk with Newsome.

"We sat in the middle of the construction. The drywall hadn't started. There was no heat in the building. And we talked about 'How can we advance this kind of stuff? What role does the government play?' " says Newsome.

"That was a key moment. We shifted into how to market this place, thinking, how are we going to find people with pioneering spirits?" he says.

Newsome says, "This is still considered a weak area of the neighborhood, and not everybody lines up to come here. Even given the amenities of the interior environment" of 17 Gordon Avenue, "it's still a hard sell."

Cicilline says it was difficult to picture the transformation of 17 Gordon Avenue as the work was getting under way. But he says he has known Newsome for many years, "and I had no doubt he would be successful, because he believed so deeply in what he was doing."

THE DRYWALL went up, the paint went on. Tenants began moving in.

The Glimpse Foundation (www.glimpsefoundation.org), created by a Brown student to promote worldwide cultural understanding, was one of the first. Nicholas Fitzhugh, president of Glimpse Foundation and publisher of Glimpse Quarterly, and Kerala Goodkin, foundation secretary and Glimpse Quarterly editor-in-chief, rent a one-room, 433-square-foot office.

Besides their office, and dependable heating and air conditioning, "we have shared conference rooms," Fitzhugh says. "Everything is pre-wired. There's a mailroom and loading dock. And being able to get all that for $1 per square foot -- our overhead is so low."

Fitzhugh is also pleased that Glimpse "has been able to be in a community of other start-up businesses" that convene for a monthly tenants' meeting.

Glimpse's next-door neighbor is the nonprofit People's Power & Light.

"This seemed like a great fit. It's so much in line with our mission. We wanted to just really walk the talk," says executive director Erich Stephens, who was on the original volunteer committee.

"It's really worked out well, because the people who come to visit us are interested in what the building is about as well. The space itself is excellent," Stephens says.

Kathy Jellison, principal of Partners Consortium, LLC, says she and her three partners, Jennifer Davis-Allison, Marianne A. Cocchini, and Harriet Eiter, "stepped one foot across the threshold at 17 Gordon Avenue and knew we were home."

Says Jellison, "It has the same sort of value systems that really resonated with us -- in terms of being collaborative in nature . . . in terms of good stewardship, good use of the land, and recycling." She finds the natural light "conducive to creative energy, which is what the building is about."

The four women also like the South Side location. "All of our clients -- many had not been to the South Side before or thought of it as a conference locality."

"The folks who come here go, 'Oh, wow!' " Jellison says. "It's really lovely. We feel really proud to be here."

WORKERS GIVE the roof its crowning touch on a mid-September day, beneath a smudged gray sky that threatens rain -- perfect for planting. Three employees of CleanScape dig their trowels into several inches of soil that has been spread on rubber membrane, and plug green succulents into the holes. By 10 a.m. the men have planted hundreds of them; they have several thousand more to go.

From the rooftop you can see the red vacant building with busted windows across the street that is now owned by the Providence Health Centers. Using 17 Gordon Avenue as a template, that building is about to undergo a transformation.

All it takes, Newsome says, is vision, financing and a lot of elbow grease to set the domino theory in motion.

"From one building [has come] the catalyst of change and the empowerment," says South Providence Councilwoman Balbina Young. "That one decision by the SPDC board, and Joe Newsome saying 'We can do this,' has blossomed into some nice things for this community."

'Green' houses open their doors

The 17 Gordon Avenue Business Incubator is among a number of "environmentally friendly" buildings that will be open during the annual Green Buildings Open House on Saturday, Oct. 2. The tour is part of American Solar Energy Society's National Solar Tour.

Free tours of area homes and businesses will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The tour is designed to educate consumers about green building, safe indoor air quality and renewable energy.

Buildings include examples of geothermal heat, solar electric power and water systems, energy-efficient windows, insulation and "green" building materials.

The buildings are private residences, unless otherwise noted:

Coventry: Apeiron Institute for Environmental Living, 451 Hammond Road.

Cranston: 42 Tremont St.

Hope Valley: 19 Crouther's Place.

Providence: 17 Gordon Avenue, and Fields Point (Save the Bay's new Explore the Bay Education Center).

Wakefield: 40 Oak St.

Westerly: 1 Dennis Court

Wickford: 2 Loop Drive.

The New England Sustainable Energy Association organizes the Green Buildings Open House event regionally to promote the benefits of green living. For details about the Rhode Island houses and businesses, visit www.nesea.org, or call (413) 774-6051.

From The Providence Journal

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Elmwood.jpg

JOURNAL PHOTO / MARY MURPHY PROVIDENCE: Bright balloons signify completion of a rehabilitation project that turned 10 rundown houses into 42 affordable-housing units in the Elmwood neighborhood of Providence. Some of the apartments will rent for $351 month instead of the market rate of $812 a month.

Renovation of homes gives Elmwood a boost

Pride abounds as Greater Elmwood Neighborhood Services unveils 42 units of reasonably priced housing on what was once a blighted street.

BY KAREN A. DAVIS

Journal Staff Writer | October 7, 2004

PROVIDENCE -- For decades, the historic Victorian and carriage houses along Adelaide Avenue bore little resemblence to the majestic structures they once were.

The houses were run down and neglected.

Their centerpiece porches stood warped and deteriorated.

Chipped paint was found to have caused the lead poisoning of young children living inside.

That was then, before the Greater Elmwood Neighborhood Services stepped in to lead a project to transform 10 dilapidated houses into 42 lead-safe affordable apartments.

Yesterday, officials from GENS, Mayor David Cicilline and state and local housing advocates celebrated the completion of the $5.8-million project to restore the houses to their original granduer, while creating affordable housing.

"This is a great day for Elmwood," said Cynthia Langlykke, acting deputy director of GENS. "This part of Adelaide Avenue has transformed from dilapidated, run-down houses with unpleasant, unhealthy apartments into some of the most wonderful houses and apartments on the South Side.

"This kind of redevelopment exemplifies the best of neighborhood revitalization, historic preservation and affordable housing," Langlykke said.

Maryclaire Knight, chairwoman of the GENS board, said her agency is proud to "be a part of something that allows equity in housing" and supports a neighborhood in which people of varying incomes are able to live side by side.

Knight credits the partnerships with federal, state and local government agencies, and a variety of funding sources, for making the project happen.

The financing included $250,000 from the City of Providence, federal tax credits worth $3 million, and $510,000 in low-interest loans and grants from Rhode Island Housing and Mortgage Finance Corporation, $1.9 million in state and federal tax credits from the state Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission and money from Fannie Mae and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation of Rhode Island.

The state Neighborhood Opportunities Program provided $100,000, which will enable some of the apartments to rent for $351 a month instead the market rate of $812, Knight said.

Cicilline called the project "incredibly exciting for this community, for the city and for the state.

The mayor said the project "not only provides safe and affordable housing, but it preserves the historic character of Elmwood and goes a long way toward creating stronger neighborhoods and enriching the lives of Providence residents."

Cicilline said he hopes to see such projects repeated in the other neighborhoods.

At a news conference outside a gold-colored Victorian at 181 Adelaide Ave., Sen. Juan Pichardo said he remembers when a few of the renovated houses stood as eyesores and magnets for crime.

Yesterday, they stood as evidence of what can be done when agencies come together to achieve a goal. Pichardo said he hopes "we can continue to do [these types of projects] outside of the historic district, as well."

Debbie Smith, an aide to Governor Carcieri, said the governor cares about the affordable-housing issue and "what we're doing in neighborhoods like this," and added that Carcieri showed that commitment by including in his budget proposal $5 million to fund the Neighborhood Opportunities Program.

Susan Baxter, chairwoman of the Rhode Island Housing Resource Commission, called affordable housing "good for the community" and "critical to the health of our economy, because it houses wage-earners who work in essential service positions."

Preservation advocates Ted Sanderson and Clarke Schottle praised the use of state and federal historic tax credits to restore the grand homes to their original stature.

For Jose Castillo, who bought the house at 198 Adelaide Ave. and has tenants on the second and third floors, the project fulfilled his family's dream of owning a home.

Speaking through an interpreter, Castillo said "this was a problem area and now it's very clean."

And, Castillo said his family is very proud to live there.

Richard Robinson and his daughter, Kimaya, 4, echoed those sentiments.

Robinson, his wife and two daughters formerly lived in Olneyville, but are renting the three-bedroom carriage house behind 181 Adelaide.

Kimaya said she is glad to live in new house because she no longer has to share a room with her older sister.

From The Providence Journal

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Residents can speak up on Elmwood plan

Improvements on Elmwood Avenue are the topic of a meeting on Saturday.

BY KAREN A. DAVIS Journal Staff Writer | May 9, 2005

PROVIDENCE -- A coalition of community agencies is hosting a public meeting on Saturday to discuss the state's plans to repave and reconstruct Elmwood Avenue.

The meeting, called by the Elmwood Collaborative, is from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Knight Memorial branch of the Providence Public Library.

Additional meetings will be held May 19 at the Elmwood Community Center and May 25 at the Knight Memorial library, both from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Childcare and Spanish translation services will be available.

The purpose of the meetings is to give residents, business owners and organizations a chance to "set our community's priorities for improving" Elmwood Avenue, according to Zachary Markovits, of the Elmwood Foundation.

Continue reading at: ProJo.com

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You beat me to the punch Cotuit, thanks for posting the article...

If you are looking to have a real say on the improvements taking place on Elmwood Ave, particularly related to development, pedestrian safety, bicycling, and transit, come to one of the community workshops, which will be facilitated by the very talented folks at the Newport Collaborative Architects and Planners.

I'll be running the proceeds here on Elmwood Avenue, so if you have any input, suggestions, or questions about this very important artery in South Providence, feel free to post here, or email me directly.

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You beat me to the punch Cotuit, thanks for posting the article...

If you are looking to have a real say on the improvements taking place on Elmwood Ave, particularly related to development, pedestrian safety, bicycling, and transit, come to one of the community workshops, which will be facilitated by the very talented folks at the Newport Collaborative Architects and Planners.

I'll be running the proceeds here on Elmwood Avenue, so if you have any input, suggestions, or questions about this very important artery in South Providence, feel free to post here, or email me directly.

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Are they actually considering transit already in their design beyond the buses?

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Are they actually considering transit already in their design beyond the buses?

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Nope.

Elmwood Ave did have a trolley line running to Roger Williams Park in the early 1900's, but its not being looked at currently. We will mostly be looking at traffic calming and flow, pedestrian and bicycle safety, parking, and bus stops, shelters, and service related to transit, but if you would like to see rail transit, by all means make the point.

On a side note, we will be looking very closely at the historical landscape of Elmwood Ave, possibly partially restoring it as a greenway connecting downtown to Roger Williams Park.

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Eventually, a trolley on Elmwood would be ideal. But I think the current condition of the street means that it must be rebuilt now. Even if we started seriously planning for trolleys tomorrow, they'd still be a ways off.

It would be good to plan the rebuilding around future trolleys. I.E. design the street now, so that it doesn't need to be completely redesigned again, if/when we bring back trolleys.

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On a side note, we will be looking very closely at the historical landscape of Elmwood Ave, possibly partially restoring it as a greenway connecting downtown to Roger Williams Park.

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That would be really cool. If I recall correctly, Elmwood Ave was one that the consultant deemed possible to have on-street bike lanes running down it in the Bike Providence study. You thinking more along the lines of bike lanes, or an actual separated greenway on one side, etc?

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South Providence has the worst violence out of all New England cities IMO, I dont know the "stats" about Hartford and Boston, but ive been to both cities (the worst parts) and I havent seen it as bad as south prov. I had 2 friends get killed within the last 3 months and they were both teenagers. Does anyone know if its getting better, because my friends keep dying (and im only 16), plus I dont even live in providence. So if anyone knows the crime rate and if its going down?

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I want to say that the murder rate in Providence has steadily gone down in the past decade. 2001 and 2002 both had 23 murders, but I beleive that 2003 and 2004 had less than that. Nonetheless, it still isn't the best.

These stats are from www.city-data.com

Crime in Providence (2002):

23 murders (13.0 per 100,000)

109 rapes (61.5 per 100,000)

550 robberies (310.5 per 100,000)

620 assaults (350.0 per 100,000)

2,186 burglaries (1233.9 per 100,000)

7,515 larceny counts (4241.9 per 100,000)

2,861 auto thefts (1614.9 per 100,000)

City-data.com crime index = 597.9 (higher means more crime, US average = 330.6)

Crime in Providence (2001):

23 murders (13.1 per 100,000)

111 rapes (63.3 per 100,000)

595 robberies (339.3 per 100,000)

714 assaults (407.1 per 100,000)

2,284 burglaries (1302.4 per 100,000)

7,387 larceny counts (4212.1 per 100,000)

3,071 auto thefts (1751.1 per 100,000)

City-data.com crime index = 627.7 (higher means more crime)

I know Hartford statistically has usually had a higher crime rate than Providence (crime index over 700, as opposed to Providence's around 600). These are just statistics though, nothing beats people's firsthand experiences in a certain place. Hopefully other people in this forum can give you a better answer.

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Ive went to hartford a lot and ive never had problems?

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I think South Providence is horrific.. And personally, I think it is going to get worse before and if it ever gets better.. There will be an influx of new residents who are pushed out of Valley, Smith Hill, Mt Pleasant and Olneyville, and they will relo to South Prov.. More violence coming..

Just one man's opinion..

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Southside Potter's Ave. Whassup!!!!

It can get crazy on the southside, but it doesn't compare to larger cities likes New Orleans or Chicago where their murder numbers are in the 450-600 range yearly. Believe it or not, when it comes to murder, New York is one of the safer cities in the US.

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Southside Potter's Ave. Whassup!!!!

It can get crazy on the southside, but it doesn't compare to larger cities likes New Orleans or Chicago where their murder numbers are in the 450-600 range yearly.  Believe it or not, when it comes to murder, New York is one of the safer cities in the US.

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Yea but Providence's population is much less then Chicago and New Orleans- you have to get the crimes per 100,000

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Yea but Providence's population is much less then Chicago and New Orleans- you have to get the crimes per 100,000

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Providence's crime rate for violent crime is still relatively low compared both to other cities its size and larger cities like Chicago (see Hartford - smaller and over four times as many murders). And from personal experience, while South Providence is not the nicest neighborhood in the world, it is not nearly as dangerous as the "bad" parts of other cities.

Despite its bad rep, there are some really good things about South Providence.

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I've got to agree with eltron.

Recently I went to the Southside Community Landtrust plant sale.

Across the street there was a well tended Buddhist shrine.

A block away a beautiful (and immaculate) new park with a fountain.

Nearby was a cheerful looking charter school that is giving inner city kids an alternative to standard public education.

I saw Greek Revival houses on Pine St. being beautifully restored by SWAP and the PPS Revolving Fund and being offered at affordable prices to lower income residents.

I drove down Broad St. and saw the renovation of the former Harold's Furniture store into condos (Pearl St. lofts?) and along Broad St, I saw countless small businesses selling groceries, electronics, etc as well as such vibrant institutions as AS220's Broad St. Studios.

Yes, South Providence has some serious problems, but I think that its low points in the 70s still negatively influences its reputation.

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Providence's crime rate for violent crime is still relatively low compared both to other cities its size and larger cities like Chicago (see Hartford - smaller and over four times as many murders). And from personal experience, while South Providence is not the nicest neighborhood in the world, it is not nearly as dangerous as the "bad" parts of other cities.

Despite its bad rep, there are some really good things about South Providence.

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Despite negative views of South Providence (and a lot of that comes from ignorance, but not all), you have to admit that Broad Street is a very vibrant urban street. It's packed even at night with street vendors, nightclubs, restaurants, etc. With its bilingual signs and numerous small businesses started up by immigrants, how is it so different from a neighborhood like Federal Hill?

I guess it all depends on your experiences in a certain place though, I'm sure if I got mugged or shot along Broad Street I would have a much different opinion of it.

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Well put Eltron & gregw. I couldn't have said it better myself. Years ago I believe that South Providence had a large Jewish community. As a matter of fact, I believe there is a synagogue on Broad St. but I'm not sure that services are still held there. I attended a mass at St. Michael's church once on Oxford St and it was about 80 % white, and most of those folks, former sp residents, were coming in from where they moved to, like Cranston & Warwick. In upper sp there are a lot of J&W students living in low rent apartments in the Pine St and Parkis Ave areas. I recently had to pick up my car from a tow company on Potters Ave in sp and noticed a bar across the street. I said, what the hell, I'll have just one. I found a very friendly crowd and was surprised that it was so well diversified. It just so happens that there was a bowling team celebrating their season and there was a buffet dinner. One man insisted that I make a plate, which I did. Many of the double and triple deckers which line the streets may need repair, but I was shocked at what I found in other cities in CT, like New Haven, Bridgeport & Hartford. I hear Baltimore has terrible neighborhood along with Philadelphia. In NJ you have Newark, Camden, Atlantic City, Jersey City.......etc............ I'm trying to remember if "Buddy" Cianci started SWAP (Stop Wasting Abandon Property) or not. So long ago. As humans we tend to judge the actions of a few to the many. Why do we think all people who live in trailers as "white trash"? Why are many southerners illiterate inbreds? All Irish people are drunks, Polish people are stupid and Italians are connected to the mob. Hmmmm suppose you were part Irish/Polish/Itailian and you lived in a trailer? :o

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I will agree that South Providence really isn't as bad as its' reputation might lead you to beleive. Whenever I drive through SP I see people out and about doing their thing. You dont see the block after block of abandoned houses and storefronts like you do in a lot of "bad" neighborhoods in other cities. It certainly needs a lot of improvement, but it's not all bad.

Here is a crime rate comparison chart:

http://204.17.79.244/profiles/tables/crime...parison2003.pdf

Providence does better (and this is per 100,000) than Boston, Worcester, Hartford, Springfield, etc.. Curiously, NYC is lower than Providence. It's funny beceause as a kid I always had this impression of NYC being the end-all be-all of rough and tumble, and now it's nowhere near the top of the list. Hell, Springfield is #3 in the country!

Liam

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I don't know what you guys are talking about.. There are a few nice streets in Upper Elmwood.. I drive around street by street every few months or so around the city to track development, genrtification, etc.. Helps immensely when buying fixer uppers.. Its actually vital to it..

Nothing has changed there in 5 years.. There have been some houses fixed up and given as affordable units, thats good... I suggest you drive around South Prov in the dark and tell me what you see.. A vibrant street by day (Broad) does not make an area nice.. I live in Onleyville.. There is a HUGE difference.. One is going up, the other is going down..

I once saw a baby in only a diaper on a street corner at 11PM in SP.. I thought that was sad, until the baby asked me if I wanted to buy crack.. And the baby was packing heat... And pimpin' hoes..

Its that bad; babies in diapers delaing crack holding UZIs.. No exaggeration... ;)

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Years ago I believe that South Providence had a large Jewish community.... I attended a mass at St. Michael's church once on Oxford St and it was about 80 % white, and most of those folks, former sp residents, were coming in from where they moved to, like Cranston & Warwick. In upper sp there are a lot of J&W students living in low rent apartments in the Pine St and Parkis Ave areas. I recently had to pick up my car from a tow company on Potters Ave in sp and noticed a bar across the street... I found a very friendly crowd and was surprised that it was so well diversified.

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I don't think it's all that productive to judge the quality of life in our city by the number of white people around. Whites are a shrinking minority in Providence, just like just about every city in the country. No matter what the demographics of the neighborhoods, we need to improve our quality of life for everybody. The hue of the demographic is irrelevant- if we insist that quality of life is connected to skin color, we are all in a lot of trouble in modern America and in modern Providence. (Not to say we're not in a lot of trouble anyway, for other reasons).

I love this forum, but some of the posts leave me feeling like a politically correct ninny.

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I suggest you drive around South Prov in the dark and tell me what you see.. A vibrant street by day (Broad) does not make an area nice..

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Not to start an argument, but last time I drove through South Providence was late on a Sunday night, and Broad Street was packed with people and street vendors, and a good noticeable police presence as well.

Although vibrancy does not make an area nice, it does add to its safety in the sense that there are more people around.

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I once saw a baby in only a diaper on a street corner at 11PM in SP.. I thought that was sad, until the baby asked me if I wanted to buy crack..  And the baby was packing heat... And pimpin' hoes..

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Ok Dave Chapelle lol.

I played basketball there yesterday and on my way home I dropped someone off and come to find out that there was people there waiting to do something to him, I have no idea what the hell they where about to do to him but this kid is 13 so I just kept driving and didnt let him go home.

Now when I see like four 20 year old people waiting to beat this kid up in mid day, I find that pretty bad.

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Ok Dave Chapelle lol.

Now when I see like four 20 year old people waiting to beat this kid up in mid day, I find that pretty bad.

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It's always about drugs. You must be mighty slow or naive and gullible, which makes sense since your only 16. Your friends mean a lot to you. You have to understand that just because someone is your friend dosen't mean that their not doing something wrong.

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