June 2, 2022
Parker Gavigan, Director of Communications
Providence, RI – At tonight’s City Council meeting, councilors appointed five new members to the Providence Municipal Reparations Commission. In 2022, Mayor Jorge Elorza formed the commission by executive order to provide recommendations on policies, programs, and projects to help heal the harm caused to Black, Indigenous people, and people of Color in Providence. $10 million in American Rescue Plan funds have been allocated to this work. The commission comprises 13 members, with seven members appointed by the mayor and six by the city council. New appointees include Kyle Bennet, Dewayne Hackney, Cristian Potter, Michael Costa, and Phyllis Evans. The city council previously appointed Dwayne Keys. “These individuals, who are all deeply committed to our community, will bring their life experiences to the commission and help shape thoughtful ideas the city can then implement,” said Councilwoman and Deputy Majority Leader Mary Kay Harris (Ward 11). “The council took a thorough approach in selecting these commission members, and I thank them for serving the city,’ said Council President John Igliozzi. “It is vitally important, and I look forward to the commission establishing a generational trust so present, and future Providence residents can access and utilize these funds.” To learn more about the commission, click here.
Illegal Sale of Fireworks
At tonight’s City Council meeting, Councilwoman Jo-Ann Ryan (Ward 5) proposed a resolution calling on the State of Rhode Island’s Department of Business Regulation to begin enforcement actions against any businesses selling illegal aerial fireworks. “Providence neighborhoods have been terrorized by the illegal use of fireworks for several summers now. That is why in the early summer of 2020, I convened a group of city stakeholders to discuss this quality of life nuisance and identified three main areas that needed to be addressed: public education on what is and isn’t legal; licensing enforcement for businesses that are illegally selling fireworks; and a coordinated effort by public safety officials to focus on hot spots or problematic areas. As a result of the diligent efforts of the Fireworks Task Force, over the past few years, the city was able to make a significant reduction in the use of illegal fireworks that had been disrupting and endangering our neighborhoods,” Ryan said. “I look forward to building on this progress as we head into another summer, and I thank our local law enforcement and fire officials for their work every day to maintain the quality of life and public safety of our community. I am now calling on DBR to follow our lead and do what they can to mitigate another component of this issue; the illegal sale of fireworks,” said Ryan. In Rhode Island, ground-based fireworks and sparklers are legal, but aerial fireworks and anything that explodes are not allowed without a permit. There are businesses throughout the state and within the City of Providence that is currently offering illegal fireworks for sale to the public. The Department of Business Regulation has the authority to take enforcement action against any business entity selling illegal fireworks. To report the use of illegal fireworks in Providence or file a complaint, call the police department’s non-emergency line (401) 272-3121 or use its online reporting system.
Community Development Block Grants
Councilors passed for a second and final time $5.5 million in community development block grant funding (CDBG), federal money that will immediately impact Providence neighborhoods. CDBG funding includes substantial support to community centers like Federal Hill House and provides grants for economic development and public service programs across the city. Many public service grants help with unemployment, homelessness, public health, clothing insecurity, music education, and domestic violence resources/emergency housing. Some beneficiaries include established providers like Amos House, Clinica Esperanza/Hope Clinic, and the Rhode Island Free Clinic. A breakdown of CDBG funds can be found here.