The City of Providence is considering zoning changes that threaten the future success of Providence’s working watefront, a vitally important regional economic resource. As laid out in the Providence 2020 Plan and in draft changes to the city’s Comprehensive Plan, the working waterfront area along the Allens Avenue Corridor – north of Thurbers Avenue and south of the relocated I-195 – would be rezoned for mixed uses such as residential condominiums, marinas, hotels, retail shops, and restaurants. Artist renderings in these planning documents portray an idyllic waterfront filled with glitzy new condos, hotels, and boats moving about the port. Completely absent from these renderings are existing working waterfront businesses, many of whom have continuously operated in the same location for over 100 years.
The Providence Working Waterfront Alliance feels that these zoning changes are shortsighted. While condos, hotels, and marinas may increase the city’s property tax revenues, they will come at the expense of existing successful taxpaying businesses, good blue collar jobs, and a regional economic resource that will never be rebuilt.
Over the coming months, Providence Working Waterfront Alliance members will be working with city and state officials to ensure that the appropriate zoning is put into place to protect the economic vibrancy of the Port of Providence.