The following statement was offered by Providence City Councilman Nicholas Narducci Jr. (Ward 4) regarding the cleanup of a homeless encampment area that has developed under the Route 146 overpass on Branch Avenue.
“Earlier today I participated in the cleanup of an area under and around the Route 146 overpass on Branch Avenue. The area was cleaned up in coordination with the Department of Public Works after many complaints from neighbors about trash and litter. Police were there for traffic safety and did not approach anyone. I also want to make very clear that no homeless who use this space for shelter were displaced and that I am continuing to work to ensure that these individuals have access to social support services.”
This morning, my neighbors and I were shocked to see large amounts of water flowing down our street and into our lawns and driveways. Providence Water crews quickly arrived on the scene and were able to manage the issue. Water was shut off on Dorothy Ave for about three hours, but is now back up and running and the flooding has stopped.
I would like to commend the great work of Anthony Martone of the Providence Water Board, along with foreman Mike Quirk and his crew, who were able to manage this issue quickly and minimize any damage to the street and surrounding personal property.
The City of Providence remains in working order thanks to the many crews that go to work every day to ensure that our water is running, our streets are clean and our lights are on. So, I extend my appreciation to the crew who helped my neighbors and I today, and to all the city employees that make a career out of helping their neighbors.
During the summer months, I have been communicating with residents, City departments and Strive Realty regarding the redevelopment of the property located at 663 Admiral Street. Tonight’s scheduled community meeting at the property has been postponed due to rain, but will be rescheduled in the coming weeks.
This week, I learned that a demolition permit was erroneously issued to the property owners by the City’s Department of Inspections and Standards without receiving all proper documentation from the Rhode Island Department of Health. In order to acquire a demolition permit, developers must submit letters regarding all utilities, a surety bond, lead and asbestos reports, a certificate of liability, and a copy of the developer’s professional license. The developers of 663 Admiral Street were issued a demolition permit without submitting proper asbestos testing documentation from the Rhode Island Department of Health.
Therefore, a stop work order has since been issued to halt the demolition. No further work will take place until the City’s Department of Inspections and Standards receives the proper documentation from the Department of Health confirming that there is no asbestos present at the site of 663 Admiral Street.
I have been in touch with the Department of Health and Department of Environmental Management to confirm that the developer is complying with all regulations. I have also been in touch with the Department of Inspections and Standards to find out when and why this faulty permit was issued.
Additionally, it has come to my attention that the developer has changed the scope of the project and will no longer be seeking a zoning change for the site. This means the project will no longer be under the purview of the City Council. Instead, the City Planning Commission will be reviewing the project, based on regulatory requests made by the developer.
At this time, the matter does not fall under the jurisdiction of the City Council; however, I will remain closely engaged with the project and will continue to keep residents updated as new development plans emerge. The redevelopment of 663 Admiral Street is a keystone in improving the quality of life and public safety on Admiral Street and in the surrounding neighborhoods. The building has fallen into disrepair, becoming a hotspot for crime and dangerous behavior including a homicide last year.
I will continue working with all community stakeholders to ensure that the construction process, the scale and design of the project are all carried out with the utmost regard to the safety and character of Wanskuck and Elmhurst Neighborhoods.
Please follow this link for the Department of Inspection and Standards viewpoint page relating to this property: https://bit.ly/2Xa6UKK.
City Council President John J. Igliozzi, joined by other Council colleagues has sent an open letter urging Mayor Jorge Elorza to work with the Council to reclassify the Community Relations and Diversion Services Police Major position to a Public Safety Community-Police Liaison, and to clarify that the new role is a civilian position. The open letter also notes that the Council is prepared to authorize a new Police Major position to provide a much-needed opportunity for a minority police officer to rise within the department’s ranks.
Today, the budget ordinances will be reintroduced to rename the new position and clarify its scope and role, and to create a new Police Major position.
The full open letter to Mayor Elorza can be found in PDF format using this link.
I was deeply disappointed to hear of the fire that took place at the Windmill Street School on Sunday which resulted in extensive damage to the third floor and lower floors. I am grateful to the men and women of the Providence Fire Department who worked quickly to put out the fire without any human injury.
For years, I have called on the Mayor’s administration to act to ensure that this vacant property is not a safety or security risk. When vacant properties are left to fall into disrepair, it is a waste of valuable space and a hazard to residents in the surrounding area.
It was my understanding that the administration had planned to invest $30.5 million in the revitalization of the school, so it is even more concerning that the school was still in such a bad condition that a fire could spread through the third floor.
After three years of advocating for the renovation of this property, I am again calling on Mayor Elorza and the Department of Public Property to save the Windmill Street school from further risks to the community and to transform the property into a safe and functioning space for our City.
“The City Council strongly supports the creation of a Community Relations and Diversion Services Major position to build greater trust between our police force and the diverse communities of our city. That is why we included funding for such a position in our FY 2022 budget.
Michael Stephens has a commendable record of community leadership and service with the Providence Recreation Department. These are admirable qualifications for a civilian community-police liaison position.
They are, however, not the qualifications for the position of Major within the Providence Police Department’s command structure, particularly as many other trained officers have worked hard to move up the ranks within our police force.
The City Council stands ready to work with Mayor Elorza to change the name and scope of this position from Providence Police Department Major to Public Safety Community-Police Liaison. This will resolve any confusion about roles and make clear that this is a civilian position.”