Earlier today, a crowd gathered near the Crawford Street bridge to dedicate a gateway ground garden to former Providence Downtown Improvement District (DID) Operations Manager Frank Zammarelli, who passed away in June 2017. Zammarelli initiated the DID’s seasonal landscaping program about a decade ago and gave that particular garden special attention, transforming the area across from Capriccio’s into a beautiful island along Memorial Boulevard. DID Executive Director Frank LaTorre led a brief speaking program which also included Representative John Lombardi, a former councilman and mayor, and Richard Lappin, DID board member and former chairman.
LaTorre welcomed Zammarelli’s family, friends, and former colleagues to a fitting tribute for a man he described as putting his “personality, passion, and caring into all aspects of his work and his life.” He said that Frank loved planting flowers downtown, especially in that garden on Memorial Boulevard, and he loved being with his crew. To the ambassadors, he was a friend, mentor, and their biggest champion.
Lappin described Zammarelli as a special person who showed leadership in managing and training his staff of 17 Clean & Safe team members. He called him a master at planting the hanging flower baskets, and recognized his efforts to keep downtown streets clean and the neighborhood safe. As he closed his remarks, he said that Zammarelli “deserves all of our thanks and applause,” and he’s “happy to see this small reflection of his accomplishments.”
Representative Lombardi spoke about his close friend Zammarelli’s loyalty, calling him a “kindred spirit.” Although he was “tough as nails,” Lombardi said that anyone who met him couldn’t help but love him. Describing Zammarelli as a true gentleman, he said that there was “no better man, no better brother, no better police officer, and no better father.” He added that Zammarelli had qualities we should emulate, and while he left us too early, he touched us all.
DID Chairman Joe Paolino praised Zammarelli in a written statement, noting that he “served our city with honor for many years as the Commander of the Special Investigations Bureau and Deputy Commander of the Special Services Division in the Providence Police Department, keeping our city safe. When he retired, he continued to give back to the city” through his role at the DID, adding that “his dedication to our community has made an impact on all of us.”
As the gathering concluded, LaTorre advised everyone to come back to the garden, take a moment to reflect, and continue to carry Mr. Zammarelli’s vision forward.