This week’s Providence Business News has an excellent article about the good blue collar jobs provided by the many industrial businesses along Allens Avenue’s working waterfront in the Port of Providence, and why these jobs are threatened by incompatible mixed-use zoning:

This year marks Chris Beauchamp’s 32nd anniversary working for Narragansett Improvement Co. on Allens Avenue in Providence. During his three-decade career, Beauchamp married, bought a house, raised two children and rose to superintendent with an annual pay close to $100,000. But Beauchamp worries that his job could be gone and his bills will remain if the city proceeds on a path to rezone the area and allow new uses. . .

Local businesses say the area already is an important economic driver for the state. Based on information provided by the business group the Providence Working Waterfront Alliance and Providence Business News research, the approximately 37 businesses along the one-mile strip of road employ more than 2,150 people, including 953 workers at the associated companies that comprise the city-owned Port of Providence.

Other large employers include the adult-entertainment industry, which employs more than 250 workers, and the Narragansett Bay Commission, which employs 200 people at the sewage-treatment plant. The five businesses north of the waterfront protection zone that are completely water dependent employ 112 people.

Narragansett Improvement Co. employs about 70 people during the height of the construction season.

“My livelihood obviously is Narragansett Improvement,” Beauchamp, 50, said. “If they’re telling us we have to move our asphalt plant, who’s going to take us?”

Down the street, Paul Baker, general manager at Promet Marine Services Corp., said his job supports countless others in the area. The ship-repair company sends electrical components for repair to Walco two blocks away. Then for lunch, Baker and his co-workers frequent the Seaplane Diner a few hundred feet away.

“It’s all interrelated,” Baker said.

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