Councilman David Salvatore (Ward 14) today issued the following statement in response to the investigation of Smilers Day Spa on North Main Street:
“I am proud of our law enforcement officials for shutting down an illegal prostitution business last night. The Providence City Council is committed to defending the quality of life across all Providence neighborhoods, and I commend our police department for executing this important work. Businesses must play by the rules here in Providence. I will continue to push back against bad actors, especially those who exploit women and operate illegal businesses as a front for the sex trade. These business owners will be prosecuted under the full extent of the law.”
Salvatore is credited for introducing bodyworks legislation that has led to the closure of numerous brothels throughout the city of Providence and prompted neighboring municipalities to adopt similar legislation. Salvatore also successfully lobbied the General Assembly to introduce and pass enabling state legislation.
Councilwoman Mary Kay Harris (Ward 11) today issued the following statement regarding developer Joseph Paolino’s plans to convert the former St. Joseph’s Hospital into a housing complex for the homeless:
“Although I want the St. Joseph’s campus to become more fully utilized, I am not in agreement with or in support of the proposal that has been presented today because it lacks input from the residents of this community.
Large-scale redevelopment demands a process that is inclusive of the community in which it will have the biggest impact. A project of this scale should happen with the host community rather than to the host community.
The Southside and Elmwood neighborhoods have shouldered more than their fair share of support to vulnerable populations. We aren’t being asked to take on more of it; we’re being told that we don’t have a choice.
Years ago, Travelers’ Aid, which is now known as Crossroads, was located downtown before it was relocated to the southern side of the highway. If it’s a hindrance to downtown development, it gets moved south.
Today, I stand in solidarity with my neighbors and constituents in opposition to the plan laid out by Mr. Paolino, who has stated that he wants to ‘target the people I see downtown sleeping in vestibules.’ This does not reflect a democratic process, and I cannot support this proposal until it is inclusive of the community that lives here, raises their children here, and pays taxes here. We are not going to accept any plan or process that is forced upon us by a developer.
A few weeks ago, a community meeting was held to discuss the proposed construction of Hotel Express, which will be located on Pine Street, adjacent to Crossroads. The hotel’s New York investors expressed to me that they have no need to meet with the community because they are not receiving any tax breaks. I wonder, is this type of treatment consistent across all of the City’s wards?
I will work with my colleagues within city government and community members to create a process that involves real community input. Then, and only then, will I be in support of a new use for St. Joseph’s Hospital.”
Councilman Seth Yurdin (Ward One) will tonight introduce a resolution opposing Invenergy’s proposed fossil fuel power plant in Burrillville and the use of Providence water for the project. A copy of the full resolution can be found here.
Invenergy’s plan to build a power plant in Burrillville has been met with widespread resistance throughout the state in the past year, with 16 cities and towns passing resolutions in opposition.
Invernergy has also had serious difficulties obtaining a source of cooling water – estimated at up to 1 million gallons per day – with the Pascoag Utility District, the Harrisville Fire District, and the City of Woonsocket rejecting the utility’s offers. Yurdin’s resolution follows a recent decision by the Town of Johnston to enter into an agreement with Invenergy to resell water supplied to the town by Providence.
“Given the local, statewide and national concern about the impact of fossil fuels on our climate, it is simply wrong for Providence to support the Invenergy plant,” said Yurdin. “Providence’s resources, including its water, should not be used to support the project.”
The resolution also calls for the City Solicitor and manager of the Providence Water Supply Board to assist in advising on the legality of resale and markup of Providence water as well as the impact on the proposed use on ratepayers of the system.
Yurdin added, “With an incoming federal administration set to frustrate efforts to address climate change, state and local efforts are more important than ever. Cities and towns across Rhode Island and the United States need to work together to oppose projects like Invenergy’s Clear Water Energy Center in Burrillville.”
The City Council will consider Yurdin’s resolution on Thursday, January 19th at 7:00 pm. The Council meeting will be held in the City Council Chambers on the third floor of City Hall.
City Councilman Seth Yurdin (Ward One) is calling on city and state leaders to align funding priorities and allocate more resources for public school buildings across Providence and throughout Rhode Island. At tonight’s City Council meeting, Yurdin will introduce a call to action to Governor Gina Raimondo, members of the General Assembly, Mayor Jorge Elorza, the Providence School Board, and the Rhode Island Department of Education to collaborate and develop a plan that addresses critical issues directly affecting students’ learning environments.
“Providing a proper public education and adequate facilities in which to learn should be a priority this year,” Yurdin said. Securing funding for such infrastructure repairs is already under consideration as part of the “Fair Shot Agenda” proposed by a number of State Representatives and Senators. Yurdin’s resolution further urges other State and local leaders to support funding necessary to provide Rhode Island’s youth with the facilities that a quality education requires.
Yurdin notes a number of research findings, including the Rhode Island Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s 2013 School House Assessment, which states that approximately 20% of Rhode Island public school buildings are in need of “moderate to major renovations” or “replacement.”
“The long-term impact of school infrastructure investment will improve the well-being and education outcomes for our young people. By improving the quality of students’ learning environments and addressing the health and safety concerns within our school buildings, we’ll be in a better position to provide the fundamental tools students need to thrive.”
The resolution calls for the development of a comprehensive plan address infrastructure issues within Providence Public School buildings. If adopted, the City of Providence would hold public forums in multiple neighborhood locations and engage stakeholders to address concerns.
The resolution will be introduced at the City Council meeting on Thursday, January 19th at 7 PM in the Council Chambers located on the Third Floor of City Hall.
The City Council tonight approved a tax stabilization to advance the revitalization of 225 Weybosset Street, an abandoned historic property in Providence’s downtown theater district. Once complete, the property will feature 6 commercial/retail spaces on the ground floor and 10 apartments on the upper floors, which have been vacant for over twenty years.
“Historic buildings are challenging to renovate, and those with empty storefronts make for the kinds of projects where tax stabilizations matter most,” said Council President Luis Aponte. “This investment will transform a historic building that’s been abandoned and overlooked for far too long. These kinds of projects enliven our business districts and bring new housing stock to our vibrant city.”
225 Weybosset Street marks the third redevelopment project in Providence by ASH NYC, which is led by principal Ari Heckman. Heckman’s most notable local investment was the conversion of the former Sportsman’s Inn on Fountain Street into the Dean Hotel. Following that success, the developer reinvested tax savings into the rehabilitation of 32 Custom House Street in the city’s Financial District.
“We love Providence, and we look forward to restoring another building in the heart of a city we’re so passionate about,” said Heckman. “We’re grateful for the support from the City Council that makes this project possible.”
“This developer’s previous projects have been a rousing success for the City of Providence,” noted Finance Committee Chairman John Igliozzi. “Small-scale projects like these can often have the biggest long-term, positive impact on the city.”