Housing Workshop Tuesday, November 11

You can’t build a neighborhood without neighbors. Could new market-based and workforce-affordable housing be the key to re-creating a lively retail and entertainment district along North Main Street?

Join us at the offices of the Providence Center, 528 North Main Street, opposite Whole Foods and University Heights for a workshop on the potential for new residential development on North Main Street. Amy Rainone of Rhode Island Housing will be an expert guest. We’ll also be joined by housing developers from Providence community development organizations which have had success with mixed residential-commercial projects.


Early replies favor intersection change

As of Sunday, we have had 26 folks weigh in on the idea of making the Smithfield Ave. intersection with North Main Street two-way. While not conclusive, only a small number object and those on the basis of specific concerns that would have to be addressed by engineering studies before the project could go ahead. We’ll continue to ask for responses and in particular ask for North Main business people to participate.

Our survey question:

1. Assuming traffic safety standards are met, would you support changing this one-way intersection at North Main and Smithfield Avenue to two-way? 

YES – 19
NO – 4

Comments suggest issues that any engineering study would need to evaluate, including making it safer for pedestrians on North Main to cross Smithfield Ave, providing continued access to the Peter Pan Bus station and preventing new traffic bottlenecks and long wait times. An interesting question is whether Frost Street, which is also one-way for one block as it enters North Main, should also be made two-way if we change Smithfield. Read complete comments: Continue reading

Stakeholders open to master plan for Sear and Shaws site

The three largest landholders in the largely underused areas north of Smithfield Avenue and west of North Main Street have agreed in principle to participate in a joint master planning process should one be developed. So have the city planning departments of both Providence and Pawtucket. After hearing about these conversations from North Main Street Project consultant Jonathan Harris at our October 7 meeting, City Councilman Kevin Jackson and State Representative Gordon Fox agreed to support SNA should it decide to undertake a planning project. The issue will be taken up on Oct 27 at the next SNA Board meeting and revisited at the next North Main Street workshop on Nov. 11. Continue reading

Oct. 7: Problems and potential at Sears


For decades now, the empty Sears has symbolized neglect of North Main Street.

In the minds of many neighbors one empty building, the abandoned former Sears department store, is both the leading cause and major consequence of North Main’s problems. Yet, big as it is, this property is just one corner of a vast swath of unused and under-used land and buildings that includes the former Shaws Plaza and abandoned buildings all the way to and across the Pawtucket City Line.

Please join us on Tuesday, Oct. 7 at 7 p.m. at the offices of Jewish Family Services, 959 North Main Street, for a presentation and discussion on the problems holding this area back and the potential for breaking the development deadlock. Continue reading

Living history – No. Main and the neighbors

our audience helped rebuild North Main' past glories from memory. 


Peoples' history: Neighbors helped rebuild North Main's past from memory.


About 30 Summit and Mount Hope neighbors gathered at the Carriage House Theater on Sept. 23 for an evening of North Main Street history from Mack Woodward of the Rhode Island Historic Preservation and Heritage Commission and Dr. Robert Cvornyek, Chairman of the History Department at Rhode Island College.

Mack traced the structural and commercial evolution of the North Main corridor. Rob filled us in on the story of the Providence Steam Roller, the 1928 National Football League Champions.

From there, unofficial neighborhood historian Stanley Crum led off a general discussion with his memories of the Celebrity Club, an integrated jazz venue at the site of the current Charlesgate apartments on North Main.

Neighbors recalled a very different World War II era North Main. The historically black East Side neighborhood ran along Benefit Street and across the site of the current University Heights and Mt. Hope areas. North Main offered thriving stores, restaurants and entertainment options all the way to the Pawtucket line.

We thank Dorothy Jungels and the Everett Dance Theater for use of their Carriage House Theater location, a hidden treasure on Duncan Avenue and we urge all neighbors to check out their weekly neighborhood entertainment offerings.