Councilor David A. Salvatore Introduces an Amendment to the Code of Ordinance to Set Street Sweeping and Sidewalk Sweeping Schedule for the City of Providence
At tonight’s City Council meeting, Councilor David A. Salvatore (Ward 14) introduced an amendment to the Code of Ordinance, along with co-sponsors President Pro Tempore Michael Correia (Ward 6), Councilman Pedro Espinal (Ward 10), Councilwoman Nirva LaFortune (Ward 3), and Councilman John Goncalves (Ward 1), that would set forth a designated schedule for street and sidewalk sweeping in the City of Providence. Currently, there is no ordinance that creates a predictable plan to ensure that these vital qualities of life issues are handled in a timely matter.
“Over the past several weeks, I have made observations of the state of our streets and sidewalks in Providence, and my findings are disturbing. Our City needs a higher level of cleanliness,” stated Councilor David A. Salvatore. Currently, there is nothing in our City’s Code of Ordinances that spells out a street and sidewalk sweeping program. This amendment would ensure that our streets and sidewalks are swept on a regular and predictable basis while enhancing communication with city residents.”
The amendment would require the Department of Public Works (DPW) to sweep every street within the City at a minimum of six times per year. The DPW director will also be directed to maintain a street sweeping calendar that identifies a recurring schedule of when each street will be swept. Like other municipalities, the DPW will be required to notify residents with overnight parking permits using best practices from other cities including signage and other forms of direct notification in addition to PVD 311.
DPW will be also be required to sweep sidewalks along all principal arterials, minor arterials, major collectors, and minor collectors as classified by the State of Rhode Island Division of Statewide Planning within the City at a minimum of three times per year.
“Local governments promise a social contract with its residents to make certain that their quality of life is upheld. Unfortunately, Providence has portrayed itself as a dirty city, which jeopardizes the environment, homeownership growth, and expanding our tax base,” reiterated Councilor Salvatore. “Our residents and businesses deserve to have clean streets and sidewalks, and it is my hope that my amendment will fix this decades-old issue.”
The amendment to the Code of Ordinances will be sent to the Committee on Ordinances for vetting and consideration.
City Council’s URRP Committee Approves Renaming the Providence Pedestrian Bridge in Memory of Michael S. Van Leesten
Providence City Council’s Committee on Urban Redevelopment, Renewal, and Planning Today Voted to Rename the Providence Pedestrian Bridge in Memory of Local Civil Rights Advocate Michael S. Van Leesten
This afternoon Deputy Majority Leader Mary Kay Harris (Ward 11) and Chairwoman of the Council’s Committee on Urban Redevelopment, Renewal, and Planning announced that they have voted to rename the Providence Pedestrian Bridge in memory of Michael S. Van Leesten, who was a long-time resident of Providence and passed away on August 23, 2019, at the age of 80. The Resolution to change the name of the Pedestrian Bridge was sponsored by Council President Sabina Matos, and Co-Sponsored by the Full Council.
“I worked closely with Mr. Van Leesten over the years, and his loss has left a hole in the fabric of our city,” stated Deputy Majority Leader Mary Kay Harris. “I can think of no better way than to honor the memory of a man who built bridges within the community than by renaming the Providence Pedestrian Bridge in memory and in honor of the significant contributions he made to this City and our State.”
Mr. Michael S. Van Leesten was a graduate of Hope High School. After graduation, he served his nation as a communications specialist in the United States Air Force, and upon discharge, he attended Rhode Island College, where he was a star basketball player. After he graduated college in 1965, he became active in the Civil Rights Movement. He participated in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference Summer Conference on Community Organizing and Political Education Project (SCLC SCOPE) in Choctaw County, Alabama.
City Council President Sabina Matos (Ward 15) shared, “Mr. Van Leesten was a giant amongst men, and he did so much for our city, state, and nation. I commend my colleague Chairwoman Harris for pushing this forward. When young and old cross that bridge, may it be a reminder of the good that can be done when you do the work like Mr. Van Leesten did.”
At SCLC SCOPE, he, along with six other college students, worked doing community organizing and voter registration in rural Alabama during the height of the Civil Rights struggle. He spoke of his time in the Movement as a “defining moment in my life.” He believed that singular experience made him a better person, a better husband, a better father, and a better community leader.
“I want to thank Chairwoman Harris for bringing this important matter to the committee,” stated Vice-Chairman Nicholas J. Narducci Jr (Ward 4). “I was proud to be a Co-sponsor, along with all my fellow members on the City Council. His life’s work deserves to be remembered and honored.”
Van Leesten served as the Executive Director of Opportunities Industrialization Center (OIC) of Rhode Island, which he helped found, for more than 15years. He had a successful consulting business, and also served as the Director of Planning and Development for the City of Providence. Additionally, he then went on to be the Director of Public Affairs for the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe from 1994 to 2006, eventually returning to the role at the OIC from 2006 until his passing in August of 2019.
He was a board member of numerous organizations, including the Board of Regents, Peerless Precision, and Fleet Bank. He was also awarded honorary doctorate degrees from Roger Williams College, Rhode Island College, and the University of Rhode Island.
Mr. Van Leesten is survived by his former spouses Natalie E. Brown, Andrea G. Van Leesten, and Paula Van Leesteen, and his loving children Jill, Michael, Ayyub, Andrew, Jordan, and Alexis, and his beloved grandchildren Aliza, Aaron, Az-Zubair, and Huria, and his siblings Rashad Munir, David Van Leesten, Lisa Van Leesten, and Dorothy “Dee Dee” Van Lesten, and was predeceased by his brother Karriem Muhammad (ne Hendrik Van Leesten Jr.) and both his beloved parents.
Michael S. Van Leesten was and will continue to be a beloved and admired member of the community, and his energy and smile have been missed by all that knew him. Upon passage from Committee, it will go before the City Council, where it will be voted on by the Full Council. Then it will be sent to Mayor Elorza for his signature.
City Council Joins ONE Neighborhood Builders and the Central Providence Health Equity Zone to Distribute 50,000 Face Masks
Statement from Council President Pro Tempore Michael Correia Regarding Last Night’s Events in the City of Providence
I want to thank our brave men and women of the Providence Police Department, the Rhode Island State Police, the Massachusetts State Police, and the police departments of neighboring cities and towns that helped assist in last night’s violence that unfolded in our City.
During these difficult times, the grief and sadness that our men and women of color are feeling is justifiable, but what unfolded last night was not a representation of that grief. The violence that occurred was calculated and planned and was not part of any kind of peaceful protest.
The events of last night showed that our Police Department handled themselves with dignity and professionalism while they were facing extreme danger. I will be working with our Finance team to ensure that our public safety officers have the necessary equipment to protect themselves in future events that might occur.
I ask that everyone join together and admonish the violence that occurred, and focus our energies on creating a place for peaceful dialogue and creating meaningful change in our City.
Council President Sabina Matos (Ward 15) will introduce a resolution at tonight’s City Council meeting endorsing and urging the United States Senate to pass H.R. 6800, the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act also known as the HEROES Act. The resolution is co-sponsored by Council President Pro Tempore Michael Correia (Ward 6), Councilwoman Helen Anthony (Ward 2), Councilor Rachel Miller (Ward 13), and Councilman David Salvatore (Ward 14).
“It is vital that the HEROES Act passes the Senate. Rhode Island’s federal delegation has worked extremely hard to bring economic relief to our state. Yet, not everyone who pays their fair share in taxes is receiving the help they need under the CARES Act.”
The proposed bill, known as the HEROES Act, would protect undocumented workers employed in essential fields from deportation for up to 90 days after the duration of the crisis and extends eligibility for federal stimulus dollars to taxpayers who have an IRS Tax Identification Number but not a social security number.
Council President Matos continued, “There are numerous families in Providence who are working day and night in response to the COVID-19 pandemic but are still struggling to make ends meet. Even more, are dealing with the economic distress of being out of work or taking on unexpected expenses. Everybody, regardless of immigration status, needs help right now, and I urge the Senate to pass the HEROES Act so that the hard-working men and women in our City and around the Country can get the relief that they need and earned.”
Upon passage, copies of the resolution will be sent to Rhode Island’s federal delegation.