February 26th Ward Letter
Dear Neighbors and Friends,
I hope that this note finds you well and that you are staying safe and warm during this cold snap. There is a lot going on in our City and our Ward that I am excited to share with you today!
What's Going on at the Council?
Upcoming & Recent Meetings:
The full City Council meets the first and third Thursdays of each month at 6pm. Our next two meetings are on March 2nd and March 16th in the City Council Chambers at City Hall. You can also watch remotely -- all agendas and schedules are posted on the City's Open Meetings Portal.
I also serve on the Finance Committee, which meets every Tuesday at 5:30 on the third floor of City Hall. Those agendas and links can also be found on the Portal. The next meeting of the Parks Commission is on Thursday, March 2nd at 11am at the Roger Williams Park Casino.
Last week, the City Property Committee held an open meeting to learn more about the proposed changes to school construction budgets. While the State still controls school operations, the buildings are owned by the City. We need more transparency on how the State is making decisions in our schools -- including which schools to close. Many members of the community spoke passionately about their experiences. You can watch the recording here.
Recent Legislation Passed:
I sponsored a resolution in early February, supported by all of my Council colleagues, to create a special committee on the environment and resiliency. I am looking forward to working with my colleagues on Council, members of the Community, and the Mayor's team to leverage the federal funding available for green infrastructure in our City and also implement our climate goals - includ the City's Climate Justice Plan. You can read more about it here.
I also sponsored a resolution recognizing the week of February 1, 2023 to February 7, 2023 as National Gun Violence Survivors Week. You can read the full resolution here. Thank you to Moms Demand Action for all of your work to end gun violence and support survivors and their families.
The Council also recently passed a Revenue Sharing Agreement for ProvPort through an amended ordinance. The ordinance was amended in the Finance Committee and returned to the full Council. I had testified against the original ordinance in December before being sworn in, requesting more time and input from the community. Recently, several of my colleagues and I met with ProvPort and also members of the most affected neighborhoods in South Providence. I am proud of the amendments we made to protect the health and safety of our neighbors and look forward to working with our partners at ProvPort to support the development of industries of the future, including offshore wind.
Pillars on Race: The City Council Celebrates Black History Month in Providence
Councilwoman Mary Kay Harris hosted an event Pillars on Race to educate and understand the history of race in Providence. She worked with the City Archivist to display many important photos and documents from the City's archives. The work will be displayed on the second floor of City Hall - please take a few minutes to check it out. There are a number of documents and maps about Ward 3 and Lippitt Hill included in the display.
New Fire & Police Chiefs:
Congratulations to our new Police Chief Oscar Perez, who was sworn inon February 10th by Mayor Smiley! Chief Perez will be the first Latino to hold this title in Providence. Congratulations also to our new Fire Chief Derek Silva, who was sworn in February 13th at City Hall.
Quality of Life Survey:
Mayor Smiley wants to hear the opinions of residents on Quality of Life issues here in Providence. Please take 5-10 minutes to fill out this survey and share your views with the City.
Providence Emergency Management Agency Volunteer Opportunity:
Providence Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) seeks to build community resiliency to disasters in the City of Providence by providing free training in basic disaster preparedness and response to residents. Volunteers receive training and assist PEMA and other municipal departments with staff and equipment support for emergency response, large city-wide events, and community preparedness outreach. To learn more and apply, please see here.
Ward 3 Specific Updates & Information:
Thank you to everyone who attended our first community meeting of 2023 in early February - your contributions, ideas, and concerns are invaluable, and my team and I are following up. The notes and powerpoint from the meeting can be found on my website here -- along with a calendar of future meeting dates. A big thank you to the Ward 3 Democratic Committee for helping plan this and future meetings.
Need a new trash bin?
With the crazy winds and rain storms we've been having, I've heard from a number of people that their trash and recycling bins are in need of repair or replacement. You can visit the the Department of Public Works website to request a new one. Or call 401-680-5000.
Save the Date - Hope Street Merchants Spring Block Party!