Sen. MettsThank you to State Senator Harold Metts, whose district includes most of the Port of Providence, for opposing the radical Allens Avenue & Port Redevelopment Plan that would declare 590 acres of land as “blighted and substandard.”  The Providence Working Waterfront Alliance agrees that this plan threatens good paying blue collar jobs.

Metts not convinced Allens Avenue plan has merit

STATE HOUSE – Sen. Harold M. Metts (D-Dist. 6, Providence), in a letter to Providence Mayor David Cicilline, said he cannot support the announced waterfront redevelopment plan along Allens Avenue.

Senator Metts said his primary concerns about the proposed plan are how it will affect those living in the nearby low-income neighborhoods he represents, how it will impact on jobs that exist in the area and on the creation of good new jobs and why, since support for the plan at the state level is a key variable, he and his legislative colleagues from the Southside and Washington Park areas were not informed of the plan before it was unveiled.

“Until I am presented with some compelling evidence to the contrary,” said Senator Metts in his letter to the mayor, he is concerned the proposal will threaten companies that employ thousands of people and put hundreds of millions of dollars into the economy.

As outlined by the city’s Redevelopment Agency, the plan calls for Providence to declare 590 acres along the Allens Avenue waterfront as blighted and substandard, thereby giving the agency the power to take properties by eminent domain and steer redevelopment in an area that is largely composed of contaminated areas and vacant, abandoned and underused properties.

The Redevelopment Agency plan is part of the vision to transform ProvPort and, through new development, encourage new investment on Allens Avenue and make the waterfront a more public destination.

“We need high paying blue collar jobs, not the low paying service sector jobs proposed by developers,” said Senator Metts in his letter to Mayor Cicilline.

Senator Metts said he is also troubled by concerns raised by the U.S. Department of Energy that the waterfront plan may have negative consequences for the petroleum fuel supply in New England since a number of major fuel terminals are located along the waterfront. He said he is also worried that declaring the area “blighted and substandard” will “open the door to unjust seizure” of properties in the area.

“The bottom line for me on any proposed plan is how it will benefit the people in Senate District 6, the City of Providence and the State of Rhode Island,” said Senator Metts in his letter to the mayor. The plan as outlined, he said, appears to offer benefits only for developers and does not address the concerns or fears raised by area residents or businesses.

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