- Councilors approved the creation of a special revolving fund for the maintenance and repairs of Providence Public School buildings
- Councilors call on the DPW to begin alternate side parking during city street sweeping
- Councilors call on the city’s Director of Public Property to remove graffiti from city neighborhoods and replace broken furniture in the public safety complex
- Council takes steps to curb catalytic converter thefts and calls on state lawmakers for further action
School Repair Fund
The city council passed a final ordinance, creating the Providence Public School Department Capital Improvement Revolving Fund, a move that will immediately help fix aging buildings. According to Providence Public Schools, the fund will “transform $8 million in already dedicated local sources into $54 million in school capital projects over the next 10 years, without any additional Providence taxpayer dollars”. The fund allows PPSD to perform capital improvement projects eligible for housing aid reimbursement. The state reimburses projects up to 91%, and reimbursed funds are then reinvested into other projects, which will spur additional reimbursement. A 2017 review of the city’s school buildings showed that 27 out of 38 school facilities were in poor or worse condition. Some examples of projects for 2022 include $1.5 million for upgrades to water bottle fillers/bubblers at 23 schools and replacing boilers in six schools. “Many of our city schools have suffered from deferred maintenance. We need to do better for our students and teachers,” said Council President John Igliozzi (Ward 7). “This first of its’ kind revolving fund uses seed money to leverage state reimbursement, allowing the city to make these much-needed repairs quickly,” added Igliozzi.
Street/Sidewalk Sweeping Parking
Councilor David Salvatore (Ward 14) has proposed that the city offer alternate side parking while crews sweep streets, a practice commonly used in other cities. The amended ordinance allows the Department of Public Works to issue a full or partial parking ban to help any street sweeping efforts. “At certain hours of the day, streets are not swept because cars are parked on both sides. It’s time we provide our DPW and street sweeping operation with another tool to ensure this quality-of-life issue is being delivered in a timely and efficient manner,” said Salvatore. DPW will launch a pilot program on three Ward 14 streets in the coming weeks, including resident outreach. Last year, Councilor Salvatore introduced, and the council passed a law requiring DPW to sweep every city street six times each year and certain sidewalks a minimum of three times each year. Part of that new law also requires DPW to maintain a publicly available street and sidewalk sweeping calendar and give the public 48 hours’ notice in advance of sweeping.
Graffiti, litter, and Broken Furniture
Councilman Michael Correia (Ward 6) introduced three resolutions aimed at improving the quality of life throughout the City of Providence. Two of these resolutions call on the city’s Department of Public Property to ramp up efforts to remove graffiti in all fifteen city wards and upgrade office tools and furniture at the Public Safety Complex, where many city employees work in dilapidated office conditions. The third resolution calls on the Department of Public Works to clean up glass, sand, and litter from the sidewalks along Academy Avenue, Chalkstone Avenue, and Atwells Avenue. “I have introduced these to address the bread-and-butter issues that affect the everyday quality of life and administration of our city. Providence residents deserve to have clean sidewalks, visually appealing buildings, and comfortable working conditions. I hope to continue partnering with various city departments to make Providence work for our residents and employees,” stated Councilman Correia.
Curbing Catalytic Converter Thefts
Councilor David Salvatore (Ward 14) is targeting catalytic converter thefts with two pieces of legislation approved by the City Council tonight. With the theft of these valuable motor vehicle parts on the rise, the City Council approved Councilor Salvatore’s ordinance that would impose stricter sales regulations and record-keeping to be shared with local police. The ordinance provides law enforcement with tools to closely monitor sales and investigate trends while strengthening penalties for repeat offenders. Councilor Salvatore also calls on the state legislature to work with the city to protect individuals and organizations from unknowingly acquiring and selling stolen catalytic converters. “It’s vital to address this continuing trend and codify this ordinance into state law. I look forward to working with the General Assembly to create hurdles for criminals here in Providence and across Rhode Island,” said Councilor Salvatore. The resolution proposes banning cash purchases of converters. The resolution also calls on the General Assembly to add a provision that requires catalytic converters to be marked with the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and cross-checked by law enforcement statewide.