Michael Caparco Sr.’s Jan. 24th Providence Journal letter to the editor, “City’s fine waterfront plan,” contains a number of inaccuracies and misleading statements.

First, Mr. Caparco conveniently fails to note that the City of Providence’s original plan was indeed to declare almost all of Allens Ave as “blighted and substandard,” a major step towards condemnation and eminent domain procedures. It was only after the tremendous outcry of area business and property owners that the City agreed to scale back the plan.

Second, Mr. Caparco’s letter intentionally obfuscates the difference between ProvPort, which the City is protecting with a new Working Waterfront Protection Zone, and the northern Allens Ave waterfront where the City is in fact pushing to change the current W-3 zoning to allow for hotels. The City’s waterfront plan would allow for an incompatible hotel directly in between an oil terminal, an asphalt plant, and a marine repair shipyard. No deed or lease restrictions are going to prevent future hotel guests from complaining about the truck traffic, bright lights, and noise produced by the round the clock operation of these successful heavy industrial businesses.

Finally, contrary to Mr. Capraco’s claim, there are no “abandoned” lots on Allens Ave. The once vacant property at 434 Allens Avenue is now being used by Rhode Island Recycled Metals to scrap the Russian submarine. Next door at the Shepherd’s warehouse site, Cumberland Farms employs 38 people and the company is exploring a number of options to revitalize the property. Far from “abandoned,” businesses along the approximately one mile stretch of Allens Avenue north of Thurbers employ more than 800 people and generate approximately $1.5 million in annual property and excise taxes for the City.

There is one statement with which we agree with Mr. Caparco, that “there is simply too much potential along the city’s waterfront for any of us to be misled into accepting an unacceptable status quo.” That’s why the City should abandon its vision of incompatible hotel uses on Allens Avenue and instead promote marine industrial expansion and good blue collar jobs, just as they are rightly pursuing at ProvPort.

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