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.
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.
I am appalled by the overwhelming surge of violence that has taken over our city. It has gotten to the point where everyday citizens do not feel safe walking on the street or even driving in their cars.
For years, I have been calling on the Mayoral administration and my council colleagues to support our police force. We must give the police the tools they need to keep our city safe, and we must fund another police academy as soon as possible.
Without a robust and well-prepared police force, who will residents call when they are they victims of or witnesses to the violent crimes constantly occurring in our city?
The City Council has instituted ordinances that are meant to keep ATVs off of our streets. The City must enforce these laws to finally remove these dangerous and illegal vehicles from the streets. The safety of drivers, pedestrians and innocent bystanders are seriously at risk. The City has the legal groundwork to put a stop to this, yet the problem persists because the laws are not enforced.
Providence residents should not be forced to live in constant fear of violence, crime and reckless behavior. I am calling on the City and my Council colleagues to join me in supporting the expansion of law enforcement by increasing our police force and more strictly enforcing City laws intended to keep residents safe.
How many more injuries, how many more violent crimes, how many more lives have to be lost, before change is made? We must act now.
I was embarrassed to watch as the Mayor of our city provoked an inappropriate altercation between himself and Governor McKee.
As an elected official, I hold my government colleagues to a high standard of professionalism, especially at community events that are meant to be joyful and positive.
While I understand that many of us often feel passionately about the issues we advocate for, raised voices and aggressive behavior will never result in productive change.
I was extremely disappointed in Mayor Elorza’s behavior last night, and moving forward I hope that all elected leaders in our city will remember that we have been elected by Providence residents to care for our great city, and this behavior is a disservice to those we represent.
Nicholas J. Narducci Jr.
Councilman, Ward 4
Senior Deputy Majority Leader, Providence City Council
At tonight’s City Council meeting, Councilors Helen Anthony (Ward 2), Nirva LaFortune (Ward 3) and John Goncalves (Ward 1) proposed a resolution calling for a review of Mayor Jorge Elorza’s license agreement with the charter school Achievement First, which grants the charter school use of space in a City-owned elementary school. The resolution describes how the execution of license agreement did not follow the required public process outlined in Section 416 (6) of the City Charter which requires a resolution of the City Council to enter into a lease of a City building. This resolution was passed by the full council.
“With the current state of Providence’s school system, City leaders should all be working together to ensure that major decisions such as this license agreement are carefully considered and deliberated. It is customary for the City Council to review any lease of City property, and it is in the best interest of Mayor Elorza, Achievement First and all Providence students for the Council to take the time to properly vet this agreement,” stated Councilwoman Helen Anthony (Ward 2).
According to the City Charter, any lease of City owned property must be authorized by the City Council. Mayor Elorza entered into a license agreement wherein Achievement First will rent a portion of the property located at the Charles M. Fortes Elementary school for the purpose of operating a charter school at this location beginning in September. The City Council was not given the opportunity to review or approve this agreement prior to it being finalized.
“The City Council is the legislative body of the City of Providence. We are here to provide an open, democratic process for the City’s development and initiatives. It is disappointing that the mayoral administration did not initially reach out for Council input on a plan which involves the lease of valuable public property. We are calling on the administration to comply with the City Charter and allow for due process,” added Councilman John Goncalves (Ward 1).
In March of 2015, the City Council reviewed a similar situation, in which The International Charter School was being considered to lease the Windmill Street School building. This request was communicated by the City’s Director of Public Property to the City Council. The Council’s Committee on City Property reviewed the request and reported back to the full Council, which voted to against the lease agreement.
“Moving forward, communication and transparency between our City’s governing bodies should be a priority. As a City Council, we cannot fulfill our duties if we cannot work collaboratively with the Mayor and other City departments. While charter schools remain a contentious issue in our city, this is also a matter of principle and good government. We are committed to adhering to the requirements set forth by the city charter, which provides the foundation of our city government,” added Councilwoman Nirva LaFortune.