Neighborhood News April 2017

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.


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

Annual Meeting to Feature Forum on Neighborhood Restructuring
The Summit Neighborhood Association’s annual meeting this year will feature a forum led by Marc J. Dunkelman, author of The Vanishing Neighbor: The Transformation of American Community.

The presentation, one in a series sponsored by SNA, will focus on the consequences for public policy of an epochal shift in the structure of American life.

The gathering will begin at 7pm Monday, May 1, at The Highlands on the East Side, 101 Highland Avenue – which has ample parking available – and will open with a social time sharing pizza, beer, wine and soft drinks. There will be a review of SNA’s activities over the past year presented by President Dean Weinberg, followed by voting on a prepared slate of
candidates for a new board of directors. Nominations also will be accepted from the floor. Then the main event will begin.

Dunkelman, a Taubman Fellow at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, will present the findings of his research on how the evolving American community has affected government, the economy and the resilience of the social safety net.

During more than a dozen years in Washington, DC, Dunkelman was on the staff of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the vice president for strategy and communications at the Democratic Leadership Council. He was also a senior fellow at the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, a visiting fellow at the Bipartisan Policy Center and a fellow at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Advanced Governmental Studies. Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, and raised in Buffalo, New York, Dunkelman is a magna cum laude graduate of Columbia University, where he worked to found the Columbia Political Union.

In 2014, he published his book, in which he shows that routines that once put doctors and lawyers in touch with grocers and plumbers – interactions that encouraged debate and cultivated compromise – have changed dramatically since the post-war era. He says that both technology and the new routines of life connect tight-knit circles and expand the breadth of our social landscapes, but they’ve sapped the commonplace, incidental interactions that for centuries have built local communities and fostered healthy debate.

Dunkelman asserts that the disappearance of these once-central relationships – between people who are familiar but not close, or friendly but not intimate – lies at the root of America’s economic woes and political gridlock.

However, his book argues persuasively that to win the future we need to adapt yesterday’s institutions to the realities of the 21st century American community.
After his presentation, Dunkelman will answer questions from the floor and sign copies of his book.

Community Garden Gets Ready For Beds
The Summit Neighborhood Community Garden governance committee is planning for spring planting and has its own website to display its progress. shows the garden location in the tot lot on Summit Avenue, scheduled meetings and plot allocations, as well as forms for contracts and the wait list. They are getting ready to build the raised beds and have seeds already in hand. Also, the city Parks Department is completing the design for a shed to house tools and hoses.
In addition, the gardeners are developing an Earth Day cleanup or other activities in the park.

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 Avenue. The sessions are open and neighborhood residents are encouraged to attend.

Summit Neighborhood Association, PO Box 41092, Providence RI 02940. 489-7078,, –Kerry Kohring

Fox Point Neighborhood Association Events This Month

April 10, Board Meeting: Please join us at our monthly FPNA Board Meeting, 7pm, in the Community Room of the Vartan Gregorian Elementary School, 455 Wickenden Street. The public is welcome.

April 17, Meet Up With Us: Please join us for drinks and casual conversation at the next FPNA Meet-Up. Neighbors will gather at The Point Tavern at 7pm to share thoughts and brainstorm ideas for the neighborhood. All are welcome!

April 22, Earth Day in Fox Point: On Earth Day, April 22, we will plant shrubs and perennials on the south side of the Fox Point Hurricane Barrier, near South Water Street, and pick up trash. Please join us! Details to follow on Facebook and in our bi-monthly newsletter, FPNA News (sign up at

April 26, Spring Member Meeting: Please join us at our annual Spring Member Meeting on Wednesday, April 26 at 7pm in the Parish Room of the Sheldon Street Church, 52 Sheldon Street. Hear neighborhood news, an update on the Gano Gateway
initiative and descriptions of new and incoming restaurants and shops in Fox Point. Members and neighbors are welcome. Please join us!

April 29, Makers and Merchants Sidewalk Sale: The Wickenden Area Merchants Association (WAMA) will host the next Wickenden Street Makers and Merchants Sidewalk Sale on Saturday,

April 29 from 12-5pm. Wickenden Street will be closed to traffic so local artists can set up shop and sell their work. Laughing Gorilla catering will pour beer and Little Bitte Artisanal Cocktails will mix up something special. There’ll be music, food trucks and fun!

Progress with the Gateway

In Fall 2016, The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) defunded the construction of the so-called Gano Gateway, the roadway at the east entrance to India Point Park at the intersection of Gano Street and the I-195 highway.

The Gano Gateway is one of the final elements of the massive I-195 Relocation Project. In 2011, plans for the Gateway included upgrades to the road, new parking and lighting under the bridge, attractive landscaping and appropriate signage. Since RIDOT defunded the project, the area has further deteriorated. We now see construction trucks and debris, clogged roadways and a dangerous 90-degree turn on the south side of the bridge.

The FPNA and partner stakeholders have worked with RIDOT, state legislators, city councilors and the City Planning Department to ensure the completion of this project as originally planned. In February, the FPNA Board of Directors voted on a list of five priorities for the Gateway, including construction of proper roadwork, installation of lighting and parking under the bridge, attractive landscaping and appropriate signage.

The Gano Gateway is a critical intersection and welcoming point for commuters, neighbors and visitors. The FPNA is optimistic that these combined efforts will ensure a gateway that is safe, functional and attractive. Updates to follow as our work progresses.

Ice Rink a Success

This past winter, Wheeler student Dennis Gastel installed a seasonal ice rink in Gano Park, in coordination with FPNA, Partners for Providence Parks and the Providence Department of Parks and Recreation, and with assistance from peer Alden Weinberg.

As we all know, Fox Point had rollercoaster weather this past winter, with spring-like highs and two big snowstorms. Gastel and Weinberg did all they could to maintain the surface of the rink under these conditions. Thank you, Dennis, for your hard work. The project gave neighbors a fun, healthy way to enjoy Fox Point during the winter months. Let’s do it again next year!

Dog Etiquette: Take Two!

The FPNA has received complaints regarding neighbors with dogs. Neighbors, kindly remember that the City of Providence requires specific dog etiquette on our streets and in our parks. Keep your dogs leashed. Clean up after them without fail. To do less not only violates City Ordinance, but is unsafe, unclean and disrespectful to neighbors.

One neighbor recommends taking two bags when you go for a walk. “I often take two bags with me,” she said. “One for our dog and another to pick up after neighbors who weren’t as thoughtful.” If you see an unleashed dog, call Animal Control at 401-243-6040.

Fox Point Neighborhood Association, PO Box 2315 Providence, RI 02906,, –Amy Mendillo

Friends of India Point Park

Come celebrate Earth Day on Saturday, April 22, at the 17th annual Friends of India Point Park Clean Up from 9am-12pm. Help get the park ready for summer with mulching, raking, pruning, litter pick up, etc. We’ll supply tools, trash bags, gloves, drinks, snacks, good cheer and pizza at noon. You bring your muscle, and we’ll all enjoy sprucing up our beautiful park. Kids of all ages welcome!

In the event of rain, we will postpone the cleanup to Saturday afternoon, 1-4pm, or Sunday, April 23. For updates, check our Facebook page or email Please also consider making a tax-deductible donation on our Facebook page for our current project: replanting the pedestrian bridge. Facebook: Friends of India Point Park –Coppélia Kahn

Blackstone Parks Conservancy Toward Renewal
The heart quickens at the very thought of spring as we huddle against sharp winds and way-below freezing temperatures in early March. And here at the Blackstone Parks Conservancy (BPC), we have another reason to be thrilled: the hiring of an executive director, Amy Larkin.

When it became apparent last fall that the BPC was unable to reach enough potential supporters to better fulfill our mission of caring for the Blackstone Parks, the board voted to find a part-time executive director with marketing experience. Our first survey, which was conducted last fall, brought this need home (see abbreviated survey outcome below).

In addition to being an enthusiastic user of both Blackstone parks, where she runs and walks with her young family, Amy Larkin brims with ideas for how to convey their value to Providence residents.

As a longtime marketing director for US Sailing, and from her personal experience as a proud resident of Providence, Amy knows that many users are unaware of the BPC’s role in tending these historic parks. And she has many ideas for how to recruit the volunteers we need in order to continue the popular programs of the Education Committee, not to mention the activities of the Boulevard and Park committees.

The BPC is expecting to see considerable synergy between Amy Larkin and volunteer board member Amy Zinsser as well as a new recruit to the board, Allison Bryant. All three have deep experience in marketing and membership. So you will be hearing much more about the Blackstone parks in the months to come.

Survey Results
The BPC is indebted to Amy Zinsser for designing and collating the BPC’s first-ever survey of Providence residents. Bringing her experience as a marketer familiar with statistics to the task, Amy recently analyzed the survey results and explained them to board members eager to learn about an area unfamiliar to them.

A significant sample drawn from nearly 800 residents of Providence revealed that many people would like to participate in more activities in both parks, especially the Conservation District overlooking the Seekonk River. Also of interest to the Conservancy is people’s interest in participating in more hands-on activities. Helping people to fulfill this desire is where the new executive director and new volunteers will come in.

Winter Duck Walk
The Blackstone Parks Conservancy has just finished its second Winter Duck Walk, another major success for the Education Committee. The Seekonk River is Florida to many diving and dabbling ducks escaping the Canadian winter. The antics of the migratory birds delighted more than 70 participants on a sunny day in the high 50s.

Lauren Parmalee, Senior Director of Education at Audubon Society of Rhode Island, led the walk. Her sharp eyes helped the group identify 17 different species (see website below for list).
The group, ranging from veteran to first-time birdwatchers of all ages, shared bird books, stories, binoculars and tips for how to spot faraway birds in the wide river. Hot chocolate and coloring books at the Narragansett Boat Club completed the outing, which exemplified the kinds of well-organized events the tiny Education Committee has been staging for more than three years now. (Thanks to Elena Riverstone for reporting on the Winter Duck Walk.)

Please remember to send your East Side Marketplace receipts to the PO Box below.

And please join us for our Earth Day Cleanup on April 22, and stay tuned to our website for any April events.

Blackstone Parks Conservancy, PO Box 603141, Providence, RI 02906. 270-3014,, –Jane Peterson

Waterman Street Dog Park

After Successful Launch, Dog Park Looks to the Future
With strong numbers packing the park on a daily basis, the Waterman Street Dog Park Association has been thrilled with the community response to the park. Looking to the future, the Dog Park Association will be planning a community meeting to put in place a new organizational structure to maintain and improve the park over the next several years. Users of the park are highly encouraged to attend, bringing ideas and enthusiasm. The details are still being formalized as of press time, but the meeting will be in late April or early May. Details will be posted on our website ( and Facebook page.

Good news continues to roll in. The Dog Park was recently awarded a grant from the New England Grassroots Foundation to install art along the fence, both for decoration and informative signage. Under a partnership facilitated by Providence City Arts for Youth, the Fox Point Boys and Girls Club will be designing and producing the installation over the summer. The vision behind the Dog Park is to create a real community park, complete public art and neighborhood partnerships.

Waterman Street Dog Park Association., –Sam Bell