Neighborhood News is a space that East Side Monthly makes available to community organizations free of charge. The content does not necessarily reflect the views of the editors of this publication.
Summit Neighborhood Association
Snow Is Major Downer for Businesses
Snow-hampered travel and parking were a nagging discomfort for everybody in Summit in the aftermath of the series of storms, but for the neighborhood’s merchants, it was an acute pain in the bottom line.
“It’s safe to say Hope Street merchants lost at least 25% of business” because of closures and with the combined snow, cold and parking “some businesses lost 40%,” said Line Daems and Pernilla Frazier, co-presidents of the Hope Street Merchants Association and proprietors of Kreatelier home designs.
Peter Kammerer, owner of The Sandwich Hut and president of the North Main Street Merchants Association, said, “The weather has been brutal, a constant irritation.” He cited “shoveling, paying for plowing services, constant maintenance and salting, but your sales are way down,” adding that “parking bans kill business, and so do hyperbolic weather forecasts.”
The city was able to plow the commercial streets to the curbs overnight at least once in cooperation with the merchants, Frazier said, but the repeated storms just piled the frozen obstacle back up. She pointed out that the business associations were in conversations with government officials about the situation, but budget constraints are well known to all residents.
Summit merchants, as well as residents are, as Kammerer said, “looking forward to the spring thaw!”
SNA Seeking Candidates for Board
The Summit Neighborhood Association’s board of directors is looking for a few good people to run for election at the annual meeting May 20. Several current members are having to step down because of illness or other commitments, so the board is seeking replacements as well as anyone interested in participating. The number of board members is flexible enough to accommodate everyone.
The term of office is one year and entails attending one meeting per month as well as actively supporting at least one of the organization’s many endeavors. All board members are also strongly encouraged to bring particular interests or specific projects to the board’s attention.
If you are interested, or know someone who would be a great board member, please email or write us.
The election will be the primary order of business at the annual meeting, which will be at the Highlands on the East Side, an assisted-living and memory-care center at 101 Highland Ave. It will be an opportunity to get up close and personal with elected officials as well as other people of influence in the neighborhood and city – a “who you need to know” party. Participants can expect to sample wines, foods and other offerings from local merchants as well as voice opinions as to the proper direction of the association. It is also a good time to join or renew a membership.
In the past, the event had been in January or February, but the board decided to move the date out of the cold and snowy New England winter to make the meeting more easily accessible.
Music Festival Set for August
The Summit Music Festival, an annual extravaganza that last year drew six bands and more than 800 people, has been tentatively set for Aug. 15 this year. It will be held, as always, in Lippitt Park at the intersection of Hope Street and Blackstone Boulevard. The music usually begins at 1pm and goes until about 5pm.
The lineup of groups is still under negotiation as SNA is seeking the financial backing needed to attract the top-rated bands that have played in the past. Last year’s headliner was Red Baarat, a rocking blend of Indian percussion, brass and funk that came to Providence from Brooklyn. That concert also included the Selwyn Birchwood band from Tampa plus Providence-based groups Dr. Jones and the Shiners plus Smith&Weeden. Rounding out the events were East Side piano teacher Johnny Lingo and local teenage singer/songwriter Emeline Easton.
Included in the park that day were an art wall, activities for children, a beer and wine garden, craft vendors, food trucks and the Hope Street Farmers Market.
Keep the date open and plan for a fun afternoon.
Residents Invited to Directors Meetings
The SNA board of directors meets at 7pm on the third Monday of every month in the cafeteria of Summit Commons, 99 Hillside Ave. The February meeting was called off because of the weather, but all others are open and neighborhood residents are encouraged to attend. Minutes of all board meetings are posted on the SNA website under “Meetings and Agendas.” Summit Neighborhood Association, PO Box 41092, Providence RI 02940. 489-7078, www.sna.providence.ri.us, firstname.lastname@example.org. –Kerry Kohring
Brown Street Park
Events this Month
Save the Date for Third Annual Earth Day Spring Cleaning Providence 2015, April 25 9am-12pm at Brown Street Park and parks and other sites all over Providence. Details available at www.providenceparks.org
We are starting to gear up for summer concerts and fitness classes at Brown Street Park. If there is something you would like to see, hear or do in the park this summer, let us know.
Please contact email@example.com to find out how you can donate or get involved in Brown Street Park or visit www.friendsofbrownstreetpark.org. Check the website for cancellations and updates for classes and events. To find out what other parks in Providence are doing, check out www.providenceparks.org. Friends of Brown Street Park, 30 Pratt Street Providence, RI 02906. 454-8712, www.friendsofbrownstreetpark.org, firstname.lastname@example.org. –Wendy Nilsson
Wednesdays from 7 to 8:45pm, March 25 and April 22, Books on the Square, 471 Angell Street at Elmgrove, next to CVS. Free and open to all.
Still Snowed In
Wayland Square’s streets and sidewalks (like those of most other Providence neighborhoods) became even more congested after the succession of January and February storms.
Repairs to gas lines and other utilities added to the congestion on what became, in effect, one-lane roads where two large vehicles (or even small vehicles) couldn’t pass because parking had been pushed so far towards the middle of the street.
The sidewalk paths, often on several inches of ice, were similarly so narrow Community Neighborhood News The commercial section of Hope Street in Summit was plowed to the curbs overnight at least once by city workers, but the repeated onslaught of snow has seriously impeded parking and hurt businesses. Photo courtesy of The Summit Neighborhood Association that it became hard for two pedestrians to pass without one of them going out into the already crowded and unsafe streets.
All four corners at Wayland and University Avenues were unreachable for weeks. I slipped and fell on that icy corner more than once. The sidewalk outside the Gladys Potter children’s park on Humboldt Avenue was commendably cleared almost as soon as the last Wayland Square column reached our Yahoo! Group.
However, further pedestrian passage up Humboldt to Wayland was blocked for a month by a huge mountain of snow cleared to open a driveway. Humboldt was already too crowded for traffic, let alone walkers forced into the roadway.
Snow may be the topic of our March 25 meeting (as it was at a rather brief meeting in February), but this column went to press before we had to time to arrange topics or speakers.
On a Sunnier Note
On Friday, Feb. 27, the Wayland Square Diner’s chef Michèle Brunelle (accompanied by Dorothy “Dot” Gilmore) cooked her South-of-the-Border omelette and home fries before the live cameras of “The Rhode Show” on WPRI-TV channel 12. Video and recipe, which include black beans, avocado, onions and cheese, can be found here.
Check our Yahoo! Group’s public message board to stay abreast of current local events and issues. Or join the group to receive regular announcements by e-mail, including select notices of neighborhood meetings, civic affairs and cultural events. –David Kolsky
Blackstone Parks Conservancy
If Only We Knew
In early March, this column goes into production for the April edition, while we are still in the depths of an exceptionally cold winter, and Blackstone Parks Conservancy (BPC) volunteers wish they could know what the future – at least spring – will bring to the parks. But by the time you read this edition, you may already have the answers to questions that have us on tenterhooks:
1. When will it stop snowing? And when will the thaw come? Just asking….
2. How did the plants in the Boulevard gardens and in the habitat restoration projects in the Blackstone Park Conservation District (BPCD) fare under 62 (so far) inches of snow? How will the freezing affect the plants?
3. How will the Boulevard and the BPCD handle the rush of stormwater that will come with the thaw?
As thousands of walkers and runners know, parts of the central path in the Boulevard are impassable in muddy weather, forcing people onto the grassy verge. With the Parks Department, the Conservancy is working toward installation of relatively new materials in a particularly damaged section near Loring Avenue to test whether they can withstand heavy use.
As for the woodland overlooking the Seekonk River, the enormous effort by state environmental agencies and Conservancy volunteers that went into the restoration of trails and habitat completed in 2014 was designed to slow runoff and erosion and promote absorption of water close to thirsty roots. If these projects continue to hold up as well as they did last year – if the gravel and woodchips filling trail ruts and the water bars and steps retaining them stay in place on the slopes – we can be certain that we are on the right track.
And if we are fortunate enough to be awarded money for the next project, namely, the restoration of the steep trail down toward the boathouse, we will finish most of the most difficult trail work in the center section this year. Whether that award comes through will be known by mid-March.
4. Will the ducks that spend their winter vacation on the Seekonk River stay around long enough for the people who want to see them? The BPC guided walk scheduled for February 27 was effectively frozen out and rescheduled for March 21 at 11am. We hope that a few holes will appear in the river ice by then so that the ducks can perform for their fans.
The Duck Walk was planned as the Education Committee’s first winter program. Other weekend programs like the ones that many children and Community Neighborhood News continued... Community Neighborhood News continued... Community Neighborhood News continued... parents have attended in years past will be scheduled for spring, fall and winter. Most July and August programs will take place during the week. Please check our website.
In addition to repeating popular programs – music, building fairy houses, bird banding, the boat ride up the river, etc. – the Committee is planning other offerings for 2015. In order to achieve the quality that families have become accustomed to, they need a few volunteers to give a few hours to preparation and/or staffing of these events. Please contact eriverstone@ gmail.com if you can help.
By the time you hold the April edition in your hands, we hope you are reveling in the first signs of spring in the Blackstone parks and all over Providence. As Thomas Carew wrote in The Spring nearly 400 years ago, this is a time when “the warm sun thaws the benumbed earth and makes it tender…”
Earth Day, April 25.
Kindly send your East Side Marketplace receipts to Blackstone Parks Conservancy, P.O. Box 603141, Providence, RI 02906. 270-3014, email@example.com. –Jane Peterson
Waterman Street Dog Park
Community Work Days Planned for Waterman St. Dog Park|
Once the snow has (hopefully) finally melted, there will be four Saturday community work days to help make the Waterman St. Dog Park a reality. There will be three in April and one in May. Volunteers from our neighborhood will clear brush, lay down trails and enjoy the crisp spring weather.
With continued strong support from the Mayor, the City Council, the Parks Department and (most importantly) our neighbors, this park should open this summer. Dogs (and their owners) will have a safe space to frolic without damaging any delicate natural habitats or causing too much noise in residential areas.
To get involved, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or sign up on our website. Waterman Street Dog Park Association, 19 Luzon Ave., Providence, RI 02906. email@example.com. –Sam Bell
College Hill Neighborhood Association
College Hill, along with all of the East Side (and the rest of Providence), is fed up with the minimal success of and lack of oversight of the City snow removal efforts. The excuse of this being an unusually heavy snow season falls on deaf ears when other cities and towns have managed to plow curb to curb while enforcing home and business owner’s sidewalk shoveling ordinances while Providence has not. The CHNA membership wonders whether there will be a case of “amnesia” on this subject when the next mayoral election comes around.
In addition to plowing issues, we are now experiencing a relentless pothole infestation. The City has let it be known that they are out effecting temporary patches (in advance of more permanent remedies to be done later in the season) and it is suggested that residents contact the City through ProvConnex online to report potholes. You didn’t hear it from us but we also might suggest calling the neighborhood hot line (421-2489) as well to report the location of potholes.
As the ever narrowing streets, due to the build up of snow and ice, are diminishing what little on-street parking we have, the CHNA as well as the City are looking for ideas for solutions to be implemented next season. One idea put forth by Councilman Zurier is to allow alternate side parking only on those streets that currently allow parking on both sides of the street during a snow event aftermath. The City would welcome other ideas so feel free to communicate any thoughts to Councilman Zurier.
Parking on Thayer Street
Meters will be going into effect some time this spring to allow a better use of parking spots on the street. The maximum limit will be for two hours so stores, restaurants and offices may be accessed more easily. Currently there are signs up but no meters, which has created some confusion.
There is also a parking program being considered to allow the employees who work in the Thayer street businesses to park outside of a 1/4-mile perimeter on designated streets. This will further alleviate parking issues and allow for more patronage of the restaurants and shops on Thayer.
New Officers for CHNA
A new slate of officers on the CHNA board was unanimously elected and confirmed to serve for the next year: Josh Eisen – President, Heidi Heifetz – Vice President, Sara Bradford – Treasurer and Anthony Petrocchi – Secretary. There is also a search for new board members in effect, so any interested College Hill residents should contact the Nominating Committee through the CHNA website to learn how to submit their qualifications for consideration for a board post.
Some Upcoming Activities
On May 16 there is a street festival planned for Thayer Street, which will be sponsored by Narragansett Beer. There will be food and beverages for sale as well as family activities, music and art. Valid ID’s will be required to purchase alcohol. In June (date TBD) CHNA will hold a family friendly event: Cocktails on College Hill in Prospect Park. This will be open to all College Hill residents (alcohol served only to adults with ID). At this event, CHNA will also discuss the improvements we are suggesting for Prospect Terrace, one of the most beautiful spots on the East Side.
2015 Dues are Due
In order to continue our work to preserve and improve the quality of life on College Hill, donations to the CHNA are most welcome and please also become a member. Visit our website and click “Join CHNA.” Checks may be made out ($20/person) to CHNA, Attn: Treasurer. Please include your email and mailing addresses so we can keep you informed on what’s happening in our hood. Dues are $20 (or more if you wish) and should be sent to College Hill Neighborhood Association. PO Box 2442, Providence, RI 02906. www.collegehill.com, firstname.lastname@example.org –Heidi Heifetz, vice president