Saturday’s Providence Journal editorial compliments Mayor Angel Taveras and Providence Economic Development Director James Bennett for recognizing the value of the city’s working waterfront:

Saving Providence’s port

The dream of hotels, condos, shops and restaurants along Providence’s waterfront made for pretty pictures. But it’s a good thing that local business and political leaders stuck with keeping this area a working port – helping to maintain Rhode Island’s maritime industry and hundreds of high-paying blue-collar jobs.

There are more than enough pretty places in Rhode Island – and indeed Providence – to exploit for tourism and condo development without destroying one of the region’s key economic assets.

Mayor Taveras deserves credit for dropping the attempt of previous mayors to rezone the Allens Avenue area for extensive mixed use, something that would almost certainly have brought in condo/ hospitality business developers (and campaign contributors) while putting less glitzy (but much better-paying ) existing businesses at risk. City officials now plan to add only office development to the mix for the port area. The financial crash was aided and abetted by grotesque over-development of condos. Let’s get back to real, broad-based-wealth creators — trade, manufacturing and technological innovation.

The mayor and his economic-development director, James Ben-nett, clearly understand the importance of industrial jobs and a port infrastructure to Rhode Island’s future. This is a significant competitive advantage that Providence has over landlocked cities of the Mid-west, for instance.

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