If you haven’t seen the May issue of Providence Monthly yet, you’ll definitely want to read it online. In his insightful cover story, John Taraborelli encourages readers to ‘live, work and play’ in downtown Providence. He summarizes downtown revitalization efforts over the past ten years and asks a variety of stakeholders about the keys to sustaining a thriving city center. To gain the insiders’ perspectives, read the article or view the photo gallery.
John describes downtown’s improvements as ‘a slow, quiet build’ instead of a ‘sudden burst,’ recognizing that despite economic challenges, new apartments, restaurants, and boutiques have breathed life into the neighborhood.
• The market for more residential projects. The Arcade will soon reopen with 48 micro-lofts on the second and third floors, and the old Providence Gas building on is undergoing a residential conversion.
• The economic impact of new companies. 38 Studios has brought 280 new employees to the area, and Hasbro is leasing space while it prepares for its move to 15 LaSalle Square.
• The opening of a new restaurant, The Dorrance. People now have the chance to enjoy a beautiful historic space that was previously only open for private events.
• Greater Kennedy Plaza’s receipt of a $200,000 ‘Our Town’ grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. These funds will help to bring new programming to the park and create a central hub for activity.
• Improvements to circulation patterns. Empire and Weybosset are now open to two-way traffic; a downtown wayfinding project is in the planning stages; and the area around the train station will be redesigned.
• An enhanced parking experience. Visitors can follow new parking signage; they have different payment options at meters; and they can use the new website, parkdowntownprovidence.com, that provides information about on-street spaces and private lots.
While John writes that “downtown boasts plenty of amenities, with more on the way,” he acknowledges that many people still don’t know what’s happening here. With this article, downtown can no longer be considered a well-kept secret. Now read the article, support downtown businesses, and help us spread the word!