Council President Pro Tempore Michael Correia (Ward 6) has shared that construction on Route 6 and Glenbridge Avenue is set to begin in the coming weeks. Residents should expect temporary traffic control in the area.
Beginning the week of November 2, construction will start on Route 6. From November 9 through November 20, 2020, construction will take place on Glenbridge Avenue in the area of Grimwood Street and Buttonhole Drive. Traffic control will be temporarily in place during construction in both of these locations.
There will be no construction the week of Thanksgiving. After the Thanksgiving holiday, construction will continue in the area into the winter.
“I am glad that these much-needed traffic improvements are coming to our neighborhood. I would like to thank the Department of Transportation for their work and the residents of the affected neighborhoods for their cooperation with these temporary traffic changes,” stated President Pro Tempore Correia.
Last night, the City Council’s Committee on Finance met to review the City of Providence Public Safety Budget related to launching a new cohort for the Providence Police Academy. The Committee, Chaired by Chairman John J. Igliozzi Esq, (Ward 7), met with Providence Public Safety Commissioner Stephen Paré, Providence Police Chief Hugh T. Clements, City Chief Financial Officer Larry Mancini, and the City’s Internal Auditor Gina Costa to discuss budgeting and how we could fund an Academy in this current year.
“Public safety is a vital component to our City’s budget, and our residents and taxpayers expect that we will have an adequate police force to protect them if they come into harm’s way,” stated Chairman John J. Igliozzi, Esq. “Last night, our Committee was able to ensure that our Public Safety division had the appropriate allocations to fund a new Academy and would be able to move forward without further delay.”
With the help of the City’s Chief Financial Officer Lawrence Mancini and the City’s Internal Auditor Gina Costa, Chairman John J. Igliozzi, Esq., and Vice Chairwoman Jo-Ann Ryan confirmed that there are currently ample funds available to move forward with the current police academy while also maintaining the salaries of officers currently employed by the City. This funding was approved in the FY ’20 budget, and through attrition and current spending, the dollars remain available and even allows for a surplus in the division. Over the past several weeks City Councilor’s have called on the Mayor and the Commissioner to launch a new Academy and were told that the funds were not available to move forward. However, funding exists and removes any perceived roadblocks that contributed to the 2019-2020 police academy’s slow progression.
“Our police department is losing more officers than it is bringing on. We need to continue to recruit and train diverse and culturally competent new officers, especially during this time of unprecedented violence and crime in our City. There are young men and women out there who are ready and willing to serve. As a City, we need to actively seek out these selfless individuals so that our police department can continue to progress and improve. I, along with my colleagues, ask that the Academy move forward without any further delay, and I am very pleased that the Committee and the City’s finance teams identified funding to make this happen. Additionally, I look forward to working collaboratively with Family Services of Rhode Island and our finance teams to enhance the social services component of our policing,” added Vice-Chairwoman and Majority Leader Jo-Ann Ryan (Ward 5).
Currently, 119 young men and women are participating in the Providence Police Academy enrollment process. This multi-phase Academy includes recruitment, physical training, personal interviews, and background checks. The Academy is currently working through the interview portion for a cohort recruited in November through January of 2019.
It is prudent that we not stall the new Academy any further. The Council cannot responsibly pass a budget until they get a clearer picture of what amount the City will receive in State aid. However, with the current allocations, this new cohort can begin in earnest.
With approximately 113 officers currently eligible to retire from the Providence Police Department, it is crucial that the police academy moves forward and recruit more officers. A well-staffed police department in the City of Providence consists of anywhere between 450-500 officers. Because of retirements, the COVID-19 pandemic, and officers who have been injured while on duty and are unable to work, the Police Department is understaffed.
I am calling on Mayor Elorza and Commissioner Paré to let the police enforce the laws around the illegal use of ATVs and dirt bikes. These laws are in place to protect Providence citizens from these nuisance vehicles, and we need to take action now.
The unrest that many are feeling is palpable, but the violent protesting is not helping our community. It is only causing further divides. If we are to come together as a City and fix the issues at hand, we must do so peacefully and safely. The Black Lives Matter movement has shown us that peaceful protest works and can affect change. We are seeing in our streets is not peaceful, and I commend our police department for their steadfast courage and bravery as they have been taunted, jeered, and even had bottles thrown at them over these past several nights.
I would like to remind both the Mayor and the Commissioner that they took an oath to protect the citizens of Providence, and I would call on them to once again come out and support our police department and work to bring order back to our City.
Again. last night, there was another murder in Providence. Our residents are living in fear of leaving their homes because of this spike in violent crime. The majority of the residents of Providence want our police to serve and protect. When they are called away because of violent protesting, they are being taken away from individuals who are in need of help. I have the utmost respect for individuals who utilize their First Amendment right to protest peacefully and encourage it. That said, the violence that is erupting in our City is alarming, and we need to support our police department to protect our communities and keep them safe.
As a City Councilman and a lifelong citizen of Providence, I can’t recall a time when our City has felt so unsafe. I have heard from countless members of my community who are hardworking taxpayers, and their message has been consistent: We want our City back!
Mayor Elorza and Commissioner Paré, we must take action immediately and listen to our residents. This fear and animosity we are witnessing will only go to make things worse unless we act today.
Nicholas J. Narducci, Jr., Senior Deputy Majority Leader
Providence City Council
Councilman – Ward 4
Last night, there was yet another senseless murder in our community, and I am deeply troubled by this event and the recent violent crimes we have seen all across Providence.
I continue to search for answers as to why this is happening in our City. Understandably, so many feel significant unrest due to all that we are facing, not just as a city but as a nation. Violent crime is up all over the country, and pundits and others have given us several different reasons for this. Still, I am asking our community to work together to support each other and to be responsive, and if you see something, say something.
We are living in a divisive time, unlike anything I have seen before. Our community is suffering, and the daily news reports of yet another person shot, or stabbed, or kidnapped is leaving many in our community at wit’s end. Our residents remain afraid. So many of our residents have felt trapped in their own homes due to the virus, and now that anxiety has been compounded by the fear of violent crime. None of us want to live like this.
I’m asking the community, our elected leaders, and our community leaders to come together to work to find solutions to the troubles that we are facing. No one can fix these issues alone. It will take all of us to do our part. I am pledging my support today to do whatever I can to build bridges and find solutions.
Lastly, I send my deepest condolences to the friends and family of Dante Mann, who so tragically lost his life last night.
Pedro J. Espinal
Providence City Council
Councilman – Ward 10
At last week’s City Council meeting, the Council approved a resolution proposed by the Committee on Finance to extend the City’s contract with Waste Management of Rhode Island by three years. Led by Chairman John J. Igliozzi, Esq. (Ward 7), the Finance Committee has deliberated over necessary improvements in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and environmental concerns.
“The contract with Waste Management was very one-sided and didn’t benefit the needs of our residents. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the City has seen a larger amount of waste due to many people and families working from home, and some people are illegally dumping bulky items on the side of the road. This can lead to unsafe and unsanitary conditions in our neighborhoods. I am confident that this contract will make Waste Management more efficient and reliable while also helping residents save some money,” stated Chairman John J. Igliozzi, Esq.
This contract includes a commitment to embracing green initiatives, such as better access to recycling for residents and the use of waste collection vehicles powered by natural gas. Additionally, the contract has been amended to eliminate fees for mattress and box spring collection to residents beginning in January of 2022. Currently, the cost for mattress collection is $26, which has proven to be too expensive for many residents.
“This plan will not only promote public health by keeping our City clean and green, but it will also promote the financial health of Providence residents by making important waste management services such as mattress collection free as of January 1, 2022. I spend almost every Saturday driving through Ward 8 and picking up discarded mattresses. With so many in our communities on fixed incomes or not working due to the current pandemic, we need to provide relief when and where we can. I firmly believe that removing the cost barrier for residents to dispose of mattresses and box springs properly will exponentially cut down on the mattresses that are dumped on the side of the road all around the City,” added Councilman James E. Taylor (Ward 8).
In addition to eliminating mattress collection fees in 2022, the contract includes a plan to create a “mattress fund,” which will be utilized by the City of Providence when a mattress cannot be collected by Waste Management and must be disposed of by the City. “This is another step in saving our resident’s money, and I would like to thank Chairman Igliozzi and my fellow Committee on Finance members for taking these steps for our residents,” continued Councilman James E. Taylor.
As approved by the City Council, the contract will continue until July of 2023, when the Finance committee will again reassess Waste Management procedures in the City of Providence.
On Saturday, Senior Deputy Majority Leader Nicholas J. Narducci Jr. (Ward 4) was joined by City Council President Sabina Matos (Ward 15), Council President Pro Tempore Michael Correia (Ward 6), Majority Leader Jo-Ann Ryan (Ward 5), Mayor Jorge O. Elorza, Director Brett Smiley from the Rhode Island Department of Administration, Senator Maryellen Goodwin, and Representative-Elect Nathan Biah for the official opening of the Hawkins Street Bridge.
“The Hawkins Street Bridge was closed to traffic since October of 2017,” stated Senior Deputy Majority Leader Nicholas J. Narducci Jr. “When I first learned that the bridge was being closed without notice, I was very frustrated. However, I took that frustration and put that into action. Working with Mayor Elorza, the Office of Governor Gina Raimondo, and the Rhode Island Department of Transportation, I was able to bring everyone to the table and share how this closure was disrupting our community.”
The bridge repairs were initially slated not to be completed until 2024, which would have caused significant hardship for the North End for several years.
Senior Deputy Majority Leader Narducci Jr. continued, “The closure of the bridge caused a major disruption to the resident of the North End. It was pushing more vehicles on to Branch Avenue and causing longer commutes for neighbors. I am proud that the City and the State were able to work together to bring this bridge back online sooner than expected, and the North End is no longer divided.”
In addition to Saturday’s Ribbon-Cutting Senior Deputy Majority Narducci Jr. Joined Mayor Elorza at the City’s Gun Buyback Program held at the Da Vinci Center in Ward 4. Several stolen and illegal guns were taken off our streets. The program was in-part funded by Providence youth, who created a series of art pieces using repurposed weapons. Those pieces were sold to help generate the funding for this program.
“The Hawkins Street Bridge project was the second major restoration project to be completed in Ward 4. Recently, the Canada Pond Dam reconstruction project was completed and the pond is full once more. It was a great weekend for Ward 4 and I am proud of the work we have been able to do to better our community,” continued Senior Deputy Majority Leader Narducci Jr.