COMMUNITY

Neighborhood News September 2017

The latest news from East Side neighborhood associations

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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.

Wayland Square Neighborhood Association

A Taste of Wayland

September has arrived, the kids are headed back to school and Wayland Square is getting ready for the return of the Taste of Wayland, on Saturday September 23.

The Wayland Square Merchants and Neighborhood associations have brought back the festival from its hiatus, and this year it will feature music and art, family activities and, of course, scrumptious tastes from the many great restaurants, cafes and shops of Wayland Square. 

While many local businesses will participate, the greatest activity will be on Wayland Avenue between Angell and Waterman streets. McBride’s will also be holding their zero-k road race!  Come out and see what you can find on the Square.

The Paper Nautilus Returns! 
This institution in the Square is now open, selling used books in its beautiful new space at 19 South Angell Street, opposite Minerva Pizza and just a few doors down from its old location.

Trees! 
The Wayland Square Neighborhood Association coordinated a street tree planting for several homes and businesses in the neighborhood and the planting will take place sometime in October.  Their addition helps in beautification and urban planners credit additional trees with traffic calming effects.  The city offers the tree grant in the spring and the fall.

Visit (or join) the Neighborhood Association’s Facebook page or check our Yahoo! Group’s public message board to stay abreast of current local events and issues. Join the group to receive regular announcements by email, including select notices of neighborhood meetings, civic affairs and cultural events. Wayland Square Neighborhood Association, Facebook: Wayland Square Neighborhood Association, Groups.Yahoo.com/Group/WaylandSquare –Marti Del Negro

Summit Neighborhood Association

Toolshed Set Up in Summit Gardens
With a little help from their friends at the city Parks Department, the community gardeners at the Summit Avenue park now have a toolshed.

On July 22, Marcelo, Jeff, Giovanni, Roger and Anthony minimized the impact on the beds while getting the operation completed before many kids were in the park, reported Read Porter, one of the officers of the garden steering committee.
After the floor was water-sealed, all of the common tools and materials, such as a wheelbarrow, hand tools and leaf bags, will be stored inside the locked shed.

For now, the shed is larger than needed for common supplies, Porter said, but that may change as supplies increase and the gardeners figure out the best use of the space.

Porter thanked the Parks Department for providing the shed and the expertise to put it up. He said it really did require all those guys to complete the task.

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, SNA.Providence.RI.us, SNA@SNA.Providence.RI.us –Kerry Kohring

Fox Point Neighborhood Association

First Annual Folk Fest
On Saturday, July 15, neighbors gathered in George M. Cohan Square for the first annual Fox Point Folk Fest. Organizers closed down Wickenden Street between East and Governor streets, to make room for folk performers, neighbors sitting on blankets (and in hammocks!), vendors selling local beer, a games tent, and an enthusiastic cohort of barefooted kids playing in puddles.

The musical lineup included six local performing groups, including Al Diaz, the Van Nostrand Sisters, Morgan Johnston, Sally Racket, Kate Mick and the Vox Hunters.

“We had great weather, great turnout and great music,” said co-organizer Vin Scorziello, of Campus Fine Wines. The festival was organized by the Wickenden Area Merchants Association, the Fox Point Neighborhood Association, the Providence Department of Art Culture + Tourism and a few local breweries, with contributions from several local businesses.

Organizers raised additional funds through an online campaign. “We’re turning to Kickstarter,” wrote co-organizer John Paul Murton of The Shop cafe on Wickenden, “because too often these events rely on the performers’ passions taking precedent over their pockets. We want to pay our performers not just for the hour they play today, but for the hours they’ve poured into their crafts.”

The event went so well that organizers plan to do it again next year. “It was a pretty amazing day all around,” said Scorziello. When asked about ideas for next year, he added, “Next year? Food trucks!”

Events This Month
Board Meeting, September 11. 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.

Meet Up With Us! Please join us for drinks and casual conversation at the next FPNA Meet-Up. Neighbors will gather to share thoughts and brainstorm ideas for the neighborhood. Date TBD, usually the third Wednesday evening of the month at 7pm at The Point Tavern. Check our e-newsletter, FPNA News, for more. All are welcome.

The Fox Point Neighborhood Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of life in Fox Point and protecting its historic integrity and resources. The FPNA speaks out on neighborhood issues and builds community through local events. Our monthly board meetings are open to the public. Please join us! Fox Point Neighborhood Association, PO Box 2315, Providence, RI 02906, FPNA.net, FoxPointNeighborhood@gmail.com –Amy Mendillo

Mount Hope Neighborhood Association

Bounty is on display at the Sharing Garden in Billy Taylor Park! Resident Gardener Emily Coble is on site for open garden hours every Tuesday 4-6pm, Wednesday 11am–1pm and Saturday 12–3pm. The newly planted fruit tree and berry bush grove was funded by the Miriam Hospital Community Investment Grant. Also, check out times and upcoming events and/or workshops online. Farmers markets hosted by the Mt. Hope Neighborhood Association (MHNA) are scheduled for September 8 and 22.

The unveiling of the Mt. Hope Community Mural will take place on Saturday, September 16, 4pm–7pm, at Cypress and Camp under the north wall under the walking bridge. There will be spoken oral histories and storytelling performances by the actor Sylvia Soares and others.

The muralists’ design was created by Hannah Resseger, Cathren Housley and Elijah Faris, with community input and final selection. It’s a collaboration of the Mt. Hope Empowerment Dialogue for Community Action, Community Health Innovations of Rhode Island (CHI-RI.org), the Mt. Hope Learning Center (MHLC), and local artists with funding from the Providence Department of Arts, Culture and Tourism. The event is free and all are welcome!

Follow the mural’s progress on Facebook (Facebook: Stories of Mt. Hope: East Side Mural Project). Mount Hope Neighborhood Association, 199 Camp Street, Providence, RI 02906, 521-8830, Facebook: Mount Hope Neighborhood Association, mhnainc@gmail.com –Karen Malcolm


Waterman Street Dog Park Association

As summer rolls around to its unfortunate end, the Waterman Street Dog Park remains as packed as ever. If you swing by, you’re sure to see neighborhood dogs (and their less furry friends) frolicking in the park.

The Dog Park Association continues to be grateful to all of our volunteers, who have spent long hours keeping the park beautiful. We are especially grateful to everyone who has pitched in in the war against knotweed (an especially pernicious invasive species). We would like to specially thank the Providence River Animal Hospital for providing bags for the disposal of canine ordure.

Improvement projects are continuing. In addition to our impressive progress in the titanic struggle against knotweed, we have recently completed an eco-friendly tick removal program, and there are always more opportunities to help make the park a better place!

Waterman Street Dog Park Association. 19 Luzon Ave., Providence, RI 02906. WatermanStDogPark@gmail.org, WatermanStDogPark.org –Sam Bell


Blackstone Parks Conservancy

On Giving Back
A reward for showing up to work at the Blackstone Parks Conservancy’s (BPC) evening ParkKeeping sessions – aside from getting a light workout in beautiful surroundings – is the satisfaction that comes from “giving back.”

ParkKeeping enables people who enjoy visiting the Blackstone Park Conservation District overlooking the Seekonk River to participate in the larger BPC projects by contributing to essential maintenance. Because the Park sits atop sand, it is particularly vulnerable to erosion. A neighboring bluff on the Butler Campus just to the north actually collapsed in the early 1990s.

How to Keep the Park Up
The challenge of maintaining the Park boils down to keeping topsoil from eroding – literally sliding off the hill – and dislodging invasive plant species. All this work, done by volunteers with help from the BPC’s key partner, the Providence Parks Department, and environmental agencies, helps protect not only the birds and other wildlife that live in the conservation area but also the trees that make this place so desirable to visitors.

ParkKeeping sessions are open to all ages. The one on August 2 included Brown junior Mollie Koval, who is studying materials engineering and welcomed the chance to be outdoors, and BPC Board member Anthony Hollingshead. They spread woodchips, which will soon decay, softening the hard-packed soil so that rain can penetrate close to where it falls instead of washing dirt down to Angell Street or River Road.

In a park as heavily used as this one, it isn’t easy to keep soil in place. The Conservancy keeps trying new methods to see what works best.

The most recent BPC project centered on a popular area above and beside the old stairway leading down to York Pond from the north bluff in the center section. It’s to this point that Providence residents have been coming for centuries to breathe the air and catch the view across the river.

The Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) this year funded a new BPC attempt to stem erosion by the steps that looks somewhat more promising than past efforts. This time leaves were placed on the steep slope and covered with bio-degradable jute stapled to the ground and anchored by large rocks here and there.

The first signs of success appeared in just two weeks as mushrooms popped up. BPC Park Committee members who had designed the project were delighted as the fungi signaled the creation of the hoped-for fungal community that would help build up the poor soil. New plants at the top will be put in this fall to supplement the viburnums and carex installed in recent years.

With this project, as with all the trail and erosion control work done in recent years, BPC volunteers watch to see the outcome. Did the intervention work? How long did it hold up? Which methods worked best? Which plants thrived and which ones didn’t? Always there are surprises and disappointments. With this project beside the York Pond stairs, so far so good.

Please send your Eastside Marketplace receipts to the address below.

Events

August 23 Trolley Shelter Concert
Sept. 4 – River Relay SSRA
Sept. 24 – River Ride

Blackstone Parks Conservancy, PO Box 603141, Providence, RI 02906. 270-3014, BlackstoneParksConservancy.org, JaneAnnPeterson@gmail.com –Jane Peterson

College Hill Neighborhood Association

The College Hill Neighborhood Association (CHNA) wrote two letters of support on issues that we feel threaten the quality of life for residents of College Hill. The first was to the Providence Plan Commission related to a proposal by Avance LLC to subdivide the property at 13 Cushing Street. Formerly owned by Steve and Sharon Linder and located on a double lot, the handsome Victorian main house was expected to be divided into two large condos. What was not expected was that the attractive small wooden backyard structure and some historic trees would be torn down to make room for a third dwelling. Abutting neighbors have hired an attorney to protest that the space being allocated for the new dwelling is not really within the guidelines, that the “shed” being demolished on the grounds is actually an important element to the neighborhood and along with adjoining decades old tree stock is important to the neighborhood and if removed would likely produce drainage issues for nearby neighbors. The CPC meeting has not yet taken place as this goes to press but initial indications from the developer indicate they have been responsive to these concerns and now plan to preserve the shed and have met with the City Forrester about preserving the trees. We are optimistic this project will be substantially improved due to diligence by neighbors, the Providence Preservation Society and CHNA.

CHNA also wrote a letter of support to efforts by the Providence Preservation Society to protest the planned demolition of the historic Welcome Arnold house at 21 Planet Street (just off Benefit) that was built in the 1700s and is around the corner from the iconic General Ambrose Burnside House and its rounded façade.

The Board also heard from a group of Benefit Street residents who are organizing to preserve historic properties on Benefit Street, ensuring they are maintained as required by city and historic district ordinances. CHNA is happy to lend its support to their efforts. For more information about joining the new group, contact Charles W. Hewitt.

At the meeting, Donna Personeus, the executive director of the Thayer Street District Merchants Association (TSDMA), introduced several of the exciting new businesses who are opening businesses on the street: the Base Station Virtually Reality Experience (above Kartabar), a locally sourcing restaurant called b.good, and uMelt, an innovative gourmet grilled cheese restaurant. We wish them great success.

As always, the CHNA welcomes all residents of College Hill to join our efforts to protect the area we all love. For more information about joining (it’s easy) and meeting your neighbors (they’re nice), contact: College Hill Neighborhood Association, PO Box 2442, Providence, RI 02906. 633-5230, CollegeHillNA.com, CHNA@CollegeHillNA.com –Barry Fain