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Frankie811

Providence Waterfront

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Waterfront businesses fighting influx of residential development.1379400636_330c5737e0_o.jpg

Thanks for posting this one, Frankie. I was actually just reading that article before I saw it here.

I've been waiting for people to start having this fight. While I hate to pick sides already, I'm tentatively siding with the existing businesses. I don't think there's any reason to be kicking out legitimate, established businesses to develop that waterfront yet, when we can't even ensure that the development projects (i.e. parking lots) downtown go through as planned. I also think turning that waterfront into a residential area is just one more step toward flattening the city's economy by eliminating yet another big piece of the manufacturing sector in the name of tourism. Un-glamorous though it might be, the manufacturing has always been here, and should always be here on some level for the sake of keeping the city's economy diverse and therefore sustainable. I think a cruise ship and condo district on Allens Avenue would be getting ahead of ourselves. Mass transit and legitimate downtown redevelopment first, I say.

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"The Cohens and other businessmen on Allens Avenue fear a city development plan that would fill the waterfront with hotels, condominiums and restaurants and push the heavy industries south toward Fields Point"

what I dont understand about this issue is why is it such a bad thing if the current industry were pushed a bit further south to Fields Point? i dont know where fields point is but as long as it is in Providence, then how is it really affecting this industry and the city/state? It wont be disappearing.. so I just dont get it.

I apologize for not knowing much about the area or how much undeveloped land there is for the "old" industry to be moved to to make room for the mixed use, pedestrian/public friendly idea, but just imagine what that stretch of waterfront land could turn into with nice landscaping, mass transit, condos, restaurants/clubs, parks, a boardwalk, and possible hotels and cruiseships..

It'll be like south beach in the summer, but with a boardwalk instead of sand.

And with the total amount of new development, the city could probably afford to give the current industry some small tax breaks for moving and cooperating and improve business for them.

and this is what the NEW CITIES "narragansett landing" claims this area could become..

"200-acre site along Allens Avenue

One mile of waterfront on the Providence River

4 million square feet of office space

2,500 residential units

1,000 hotel rooms

100 acres of new parks & open space

Museum of Narragansett Bay

16,000 new jobs

6,500 new residents

$50 million in new tax revenue

**Current collection: Less than $2 million**

One mile of river walks open to the public

500-slip marina

15-acre "Public Garden"

300 pier apartments with 200 boat slips

20-acre greenway to Roger Williams Park"

My point is just that it seems a little crazy that groups like this http://www.providenceworkingwaterfront.org/ seem to not even want to compromise with the idea of mixed use and maximize the use of this waterfront..

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Because its a death sentence to them.. Once the process starts, they become evil polluters.. Right now they are industry.. Once residential starts in NIMBYs go crazy and picket their businesses, the tide changes and they must now leave.. The two cannot coexist, its not possible.. When ALCO, if ALCO has the desired effect, the same will happen to the industry there.. But its 10 fold for those on the waterfront, because you woul have a pier and restaurants, etc next to gas tanks and sludge, etc.. How long before the people start saying get that crap out of here???

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Because its a death sentence to them.. Once the process starts, they become evil polluters.. Right now they are industry.. Once residential starts in NIMBYs go crazy and picket their businesses, the tide changes and they must now leave.. The two cannot coexist, its not possible.. When ALCO, if ALCO has the desired effect, the same will happen to the industry there.. But its 10 fold for those on the waterfront, because you woul have a pier and restaurants, etc next to gas tanks and sludge, etc.. How long before the people start saying get that crap out of here???

Not to mention, its hard enough to get up and move from apartment to apartment.

Imagine if you had 500-1000 tons of industrial equipment to move. Ain't easy. And if your business is not a gigantic money maker, you would rather pack it in and call it a day than actually complete the move and start all over.

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Aren't there some places where heavy industry and gentrified areas coexist? I'm thinking of Oakland where you have Jack London Square right next to the Port of Oakland and Savannah where there is also a port next to a restaurant/bar area.

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Aren't there some places where heavy industry and gentrified areas coexist? I'm thinking of Oakland where you have Jack London Square right next to the Port of Oakland and Savannah where there is also a port next to a restaurant/bar area.

Savannah's a pretty good example, but River and Bay Streets are also flanked by one of the biggest and best preserved historic districts in the country, complete with 20-something lush city squares. Allens Avenus is flanked by...well...the south side. Somehow I don't see it working quite as well, but I might just be unimaginative.

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Savannah's a pretty good example, but River and Bay Streets are also flanked by one of the biggest and best preserved historic districts in the country, complete with 20-something lush city squares. Allens Avenus is flanked by...well...the south side. Somehow I don't see it working quite as well, but I might just be unimaginative.

Yeah, but right there by the waterfront you've got the Hospital and all the educational investments made recently, and JWU Harborside is what, a half mile away?

It always amazed me that there wasn't really an area in the city to support those populations, but this project *seems* to go a long way to help fix that situation.

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typical RI hair-pulling catfight with all the intertwined political connections and rivalries...

but i still don't see why there can't be both. in my urban planning mind i would give the northern half of the waterfront to the recreational/office/marina team. this would hopefully form a contiguous area eventually with downtown/jewelry district/Dynamo House, etc.. and leave the southern end of the waterfront to the heavy industry.

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The City Council has recommended modifying the Comprehensive Plan to insert some short-term protections for the industrial waterfront businesses along Allens Avenue and the waterfront sections at Fox Point.

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Citygirl,

You are to be thanked for an absolutely perfect post...

The entire session was taken up by loud groups of supporters ... some of whom refused to follow the rules of the hearings

This, unfortunately, seems to be the rule for groups who believe THEIR POINT WILL NOT BE IGNORED, from neighborhood groups (anyone at the original Providence Tomorrow Charrettes knows what I mean) to, apparently, the working waterfront folks. The usual justification is, "The rules and procedure are stacked against us, so we automatically lose if we follow them. So our goal is simply to blow up the entire process, no matter what it takes..."

Rather than getting these groups justly and officially ignored, the fact that this behavior gets them the attention and outcomes they want only seems to reinforce the (lack) of decorum...

But the decisions for or against are happening in the absence of independent, credible information. Why don't we investigate just how many Providence residents work there, what their salaries are, and what they and the businesses generate in taxes and other city revenue.

This is the key aspect. One element that may make both sides in this debate wish they had not been so public, vocal, and holier than thou is that some harsh light of truth may be aimed in both directions... How much financially and in the way of jobs really is Providence raking in from its "working waterfront," or does it all go elsewhere? How good a citizen is Mr. Conley and is he willing to play nice with all of the agencies involved? Is their substance to either side's claim of being a real or potential windfall for the city?

Quite a bit is riding on the answers to all of these questions, and I for one can't wait for the truth to start dribbing out...

- Garris

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If memory serves me correctly, I can remember former mayor Cianci saying, in support of his three cities project, that the waterfront only contibutes about 100 jobs and about $1 mil/yr in taxes. A sacrifice that he was willing to make.

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i heard "somewhere" that strip clubs contribute more jobs than the waterfront uses.

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I was at the city council meeting where the proposed zoning change...

Oh citygirl, if you were a cityboy I'd run off to Massachusetts with you to get married. Excellent post. Everyone on all sides are just blathering, where's the reality, where's the well thought, well documented facts on the situation? I feel personally, I fall right in the middle between Mr. Conley and the working waterfront people. There's room for both, some industry will likely need to be moved to increase public access, but a lot can stay and coexist.

I'd say the working waterfront people who currently rent their land from the city should be more respectful of the city's rules and procedures, but that's just me, not one to try to piss off my landlord.

i heard "somewhere" that strip clubs contribute more jobs than the waterfront uses.

And one of the big areas I disagree with Mr. Conley on. I think the adult industry in RI is far more profitable than anyone is willing to admit. We have a lot New England dollars going up to Montreal that could be coming here if we had a well regulated (& well taxed) adult entertainment sector. It'd give us a leg up (so to speak) as all the states around us build casinos on every-other block.

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As long as no new development inhibits the ability for Providence to get in on some short sea shipping, then I say build whatever you want. SSS has already been studied for Fall River and New Bedford and been found to be more economically viable than certain long haul truck routes, so if Providence wants to compete, it better make sure new nonindustrial development does not interfere.

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does anyone disagree with the mayor?

I'm not sure there is a lot there to disagree with, unless you're completely against any use other than industrial. Especially in the zone he is talking about, I think mixed use can work.

Until someone points out precisely what is lost (and precisely what can be gained) by mixed zoning, this is more a philosophical argument than anything else.

In my opinion, most industrial waterfront's I've seen do mixed zoning with some degree of success, so why not here?

- Garris

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