Mayor Jorge O. Elorza and City Council President David A. Salvatore are pleased to announce the opening of The Robert F. Kennedy Recreation Center (RFK Rec Center). The new recreation center is located at 195 Nelson Street in Providence (inside the Robert F. Kennedy Elementary School). A Grand Opening celebration will take place on Friday, March 2, 2018, at 1:00 pm.
The RFK Rec Center continues a partnership with the Providence Schools in which the Recreation Department uses existing space in a school for programming. Because of this partnership, students who attend RFK Elementary will not need to be bussed to another location for programming, but will only need to walk down the hall, making the rec center experience more accessible to our students. The Recreation Department will offer both morning and afternoon recreation opportunities for students of RFK Elementary.
“I’m thrilled that our partners in the Recreation Department have made Ward 14 a priority,” stated City Council President David A. Salvatore. “The services that the Rec Center will provide the families of RFK Elementary are invaluable. With opportunities for students beginning before the first bell rings and long after dismissal, the recreation program will become an essential part of these students lives.”
“Recreation centers add to the vibrancy of our neighborhoods as places where the entire community can come together for family-friendly activities,” said Mayor Jorge O. Elorza. “Providence children deserve access to safe and inviting places where they can make friends, have fun and be active when they are out of the classroom. I’m pleased to have worked with my colleagues in the City Council to offer families in Ward 14 a center to enjoy.”
RFK Rec Center runs Monday-Friday, with morning recreation from 6:30 am until 9:00 am and afternoon recreation beginning at dismal until 5:30 pm for RFK students. Programming includes breakfast/dinner, sports, and homework help amongst other programs. The Rec Center is also open to other members of the Ward 14 community beginning at 6: 00 pm until 9:00 pm Monday-Friday, and 9:00 am until 2:00 pm on Saturdays with similar programming. The RFK Rec Center acting director is Michael Holland Sr.
In the wake of the recent school massacre in Parkland, Florida, Council President David A. Salvatore and colleagues on the City Council today announced the intention to request legislation that would enable municipalities to regulate firearms.
“It is a very sad day in our nation when our children are so fearful for their safety that they feel they need to march on their U.S. and state capitols. Our children have become the voices of reason in the debate over gun control, and they have every right to be outraged over the senseless deaths of their friends and peers. I stand with our youth in this fight for justice. Enough is enough,” said City Council President David A. Salvatore.
“We must do everything in our power to ensure that there is never another Columbine, Sandy Hook, or Stoneman Douglas High School,” continued Salvatore. “Our commander in chief’s solution to prevent another school massacre is to actually suggest arming teachers. Our schools are not prisons. Since it is clear we are not hearing reason from federal officials, we must create proactive solutions at the municipal level. This legislation would give us the tools to enact meaningful firearm laws that work for Providence, that fit the needs of our citizens, and that serve to keep us safer than we are today.”
Council Majority Leader John J. Igliozzi, Majority Whip Jo-Ann Ryan, President Pro Tempore Sabina Matos, Senior Deputy Majority Leader Terrence Hassett, Senior Deputy Majority Leader Nicholas J. Narducci Jr., Deputy Majority Leader Wilbur W. Jennings Jr., Councilwoman Carmen Castillo, Councilman Michael Correia, Councilwoman Mary Kay Harris, Councilwoman Nirva LaFortune, Councilman Bryan Principe, Councilman Seth Yurdin, and Councilman Samuel D. Zurier also voiced their support of the legislation, which will be sponsored by Senator Gayle L. Goldin (D-Dist. 3, Providence) and Representative Marcia Ranglin-Vassell (D-Dist. 5, Providence).
“Like thousands of parents in Rhode Island, I have sent my kids off to school every day since the Parkland massacre with fear and grief in my heart. It is unacceptable for us to wait any longer to change our gun laws. Since Congress won’t take action, we must. The people of our capital city have had enough with the NRA. It is time to repeal this absurd NRA-backed state law blocking municipalities, like Providence, that are willing to take on gun safety. Together, we can ensure that state, cities and towns move swiftly to give our citizens the protections from gun violence that they deserve,” said Senator Gayle L. Goldin.
“Gun violence has been a public health issue in this country and in the core urban areas of our state for a very long time,” said Representative Marcia Ranglin-Vassell. “We can fix it through sound intentional legislation, high paying sustainable jobs for young people and their families, and robust investment in small business development. I am a parent and a school teacher here in the capital city. Sadly, I have lost far too many of my own students who have been shot and killed. Almost every day, I speak with and mourn with mothers who have lost their children. Unfortunately, some of the murders are still unsolved. There is a push to arm teachers. My colleagues and I are teachers, not law enforcement officers, and we will not carry guns to school. Legislation like this is a win-win for all of us, and we cannot wait.”
The legislation would remove section 11-47-58 – The Firearms States Preemption clause – of the State’s Criminal Offense Code. Its removal would enable municipalities like Providence to enact regulations around firearms and their components. This will provide Providence with the necessary means to examine common sense gun policy in our state’s capital city.
The Providence City Council will consider candidates to serve on the Providence External Review Authority (PERA) Board.
PERA was established in 2002 by Providence City Ordinance No. 614 (Chapter 2002-39) to provide for a system of Civilian Oversight over the Providence Police Department. The purpose of PERA is to investigate allegations of misconduct on the part of officers of the Providence Police Department, to make findings of fact and to make recommendations of potential disciplinary action to the Chief of Police.
“I was incredibly impressed with the caliber of applicants who responded to the City Council’s open call for PERA Board candidates,” said City Council President David A. Salvatore. “Internally, there has been an extensive, thoughtful and deliberate process in crafting the process by which the Board was determined. It was foremost in our minds that this must be an open, inclusive and transparent process, and the candidates must be representative of the communities we serve. I am very confident that the slate of candidates selected embodies those qualities.”
The PERA Board nominees for consideration are:
Jorge C. Armesto, Ph.D., Ed.M., a clinical and forensic psychologist and founder of the Latino Psychological Institute, Inc., as well as a Providence resident;
Phanida Phivilay Bessette, former president of the Socio-Economic Development Center for Southeast Asians Board of Directors, former Providence School Board member and current program manager for the Rhode Island Executive Office of Health & Human Services;
Kenneth Cohen, a retired Providence Police Department Lieutenant and former FOP president with more than 30 years of experience in law enforcement;
Susan DeRita, a Providence native and member of the original PERA Board, where she served as Chair of the Policy Committee; member of the Providence Police Advisory Committee; and Elmhurst Neighborhood Crime Watch coordinator;
Alison Eichler, president of Sophia Academy’s Board of Directors, vice-chair of the Board of the Providence After School Alliance, member of the Rhode Island Personnel Appeal Board, co-principal in Eichler Realty Company, and a Providence native;
Nick Figueroa, Executive Director of College Visions, graduate of Providence Public Schools, as well as Rhode Island College, Roger Williams University, and the University of Rhode Island;
Machiste Rankin, a retired Rhode Island Department of Corrections officer and Providence resident;
Deborah Wray, a longtime Hartford Park Tenants Association member and former board member; a member of Direct Action for Rights and Equality (DARE) for over 30 years; and a community activist.
“As an original member of the PERA Board, it is very gratifying to see this process through,” said Councilwoman Mary Kay Harris. “I am appreciative of all of the hard work that went into ensuring the PERA Board is set up for success. This Board is extremely important to the community, and I am excited for it to begin its meaningful work.”
The slate of nominees will be voted on before the City Council at its next meeting on Thursday, March 1, 2018.
Providence City Councilwoman Mary Kay Harris (Ward 11) will be hosting the opening reception for the City Council’s Black History Month Exhibit – Home? The Housing Struggle in Providence from 1950 through Today. The reception is open to the public and will take place on Thursday, February 22, 2018, at 11:00 AM in the Third Floor Gallery of City Hall, located at 25 Dorrance Street.
The exhibit, created in partnership with the Providence City Archives, takes visitors on a journey through Providence’s continuous struggle for fair and adequate housing in the Black community. Along the way, visitors will be introduced to figures that have fought in the battle for affordable and equal housing like Andrew J. Bell, Maria Lopes, Rose Viega, Asta Tigrai, and others.
“I’ve worked for decades on issues around affordable housing,” stated Councilwoman Mary Kay Harris, Ward 11. “When our City Archivist, Caleb Horton, came to me with the idea to focus this year’s exhibit on the housing struggle I was thrilled. Recently I was appointed Chairwoman of the Special Committee to Study Homelessness here in Providence by Council President Salvatore, and one of my main objectives is to find ways to address – what seems to be a never-ending struggle – the need for affordable and adequate housing. This exhibit will stand as a launching point for a community conversation that I hope to have over the next 10-months.”
The City Council is pleased to share that Representative Maria Lopes, one of the figures in the fair housing movement here in Providence and featured in the exhibit, will be one of our guest speakers along with Barbara Krank, and Brenda Clement, Executive Director of HousingWorksRI.
Home? The Housing Struggle in Providence from 1950 through Today runs Monday – Friday, from 8:30 AM – 4:45 PM through March 22, 2018. A guided tour with the curator is offered every Thursday at noon through the exhibits run. The curator will also offer a tour on March 1 and March 15 at 6:30 PM. For class or private tours, please call the City Archives office at (401) 421-7740 ext. 314.
In the six years since Councilman Seth Yurdin first introduced legislation to the City Council to create the Harbor Management Commission they have developed a harbor management plan and designated eight seasonal mooring spaces, of which seven are available for the 2018 season. Transient mooring sites are also designated in the plan, contingent on DEM funding and landside services, including dinghy storage.
“The Harbor Management Commission was created to protect our waterfront’s natural beauty while expanding opportunities for boating and other activities,” said Councilman Seth Yurdin, Ward 1. “During the past six years, access to the water has been increased, and now with the ability for residents to apply for mooring space, there are even more opportunities to enjoy our unique waterfront. These opportunities not only improve our quality of life, but they make our city a great place to live.”
The Providence Harbor Management Plan and the City of Providence Code of Ordinances Section 11-1.1 established the seasonal mooring field, located on the Seekonk River to the north of the Gano Park Boat Launch and south of the Crook Point Bascule Bridge west of the rowing lanes.
To acquire one of these spaces, you must first apply by visiting the Providence Harbor Management website: http://bit.ly/pvdmoorings. There is an application fee of $25 and, if approved, the applicant will be required to present proof of vessel ownership (State Registration and Title) at the time the mooring space is allocated. Recipients of such mooring spaces are required to supply their own moorings/mooring tackle, and these spaces are for vessels up to 25 feet in length. The applicant must pay the annual mooring fee of $350.00 on or before issuance of a mooring permit, which will be valid for three years. Deadline to apply is March 15, 2018, but it is recommended to do so sooner as spaces are on a first-come first-served basis.
The moorings are the latest in a series of improvements to activate the water around Providence, starting with the Gano Park Boat Launch, which opened in 2014, and including an effort to develop a kayak launch further to the north on the Seekonk River. There are also ongoing efforts to provide additional moorings and services for boaters at 25 India Street (The “Shooters” parcel).