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Gardens take (almost) final step

Wheelbarrows and muscles were used to get mulch onto the garden paths.

Wheelbarrows and muscles were used to get mulch onto the garden paths.

After about five years of preparation, the Summit Neighborhood Community garden has finally gone to seed.

On Earth Day – Saturday, April 22 – the hardy gardeners braved a slight drizzle to distribute mulch along the paths between the raised beds, which had been filled with soil the previous weekend. In addition to the mulching, there were free seeds offered to the public from the supply provided to the workers by the University of Rhode Island as well as starter plants for sale. This was in conjunction with the Parks Department’s city-wide cleanup activities.

The mulch was raked smooth.

The mulch was raked smooth.

Already, some of the beds have seeds planted and sections laid out, with more to come as the weather improves. It is the culmination of a project begun by the Summit Neighborhood Association about five years ago.

SNA started with extensive public-opinion polling of the neighborhood as to interest in community gardens as well as fears that the effort would reduce the area for children in the traditional “tot lot.”

As part of Earth Day, the gardeners offered free seeds and plants for sale.

As part of Earth Day, the gardeners offered free seeds and plants for sale.

     As about 80 percent of the poll respondents gave a favorable reaction to the concept of gardens, the Parks Department got on board with a design to refurbish the entire playground as well as lay out the gardens. Several public meetings were held to introduce the plan and react to suggestions. More polling about the specifics of the proposal were done and met with general approval.

Miriam Hospital was approached for funds and enthusiastically responded, with the garden part of the project to be done first. SNA continues to work with the city on completing the playground renewal.

A core group of garden planners was established and they took over the implementation of the design, putting in weeks of organizing and ultimately building fences and raised beds. People who worked on the project from the beginning were guaranteed plots, with the rest to be determined by a lottery. Fortunately, the number of gardeners seeking plots exactly matched the number of plots available.

Some of the beds are already sectioned and have seeds planted.

Some of the beds are already sectioned and have seeds planted.

Still to come in the garden is a work shed to be provided by the Parks Department, which already had installed a water line.

But the green thumbs of the gardeners have been busy and seeds have been planted. As the vegetables and flowers grow, so will the opportunity for the children in the park to participate and learn from the blossoming community gardens.

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Community gardens get new bedding

The gardeners toiled for soil as they loaded mulched dirt into the raised beds Saturday.

The gardeners toiled for soil as they loaded mulched dirt into the raised beds Saturday.

The gardeners dedicated to the community plots in the Summit Avenue “tot lot” dished some dirt on Saturday.

Working in two shifts, about 20 people used wheelbarrows, shovels and rakes to move truckloads of earth to the raised beds the workers had constructed the week before. Because one dump truck was too big to get through the garden gate, its load had to be strong-armed across the playground, but the children playing in the park took it all in stride.

Now that the beds, which are lined with plastic, have been filled, there is only the spreading of wood-chip mulch between them for the gardens to be ready for planting. The mulching is planned for Earth Day, Saturday, April 22, as are other cleanup activities. As of Saturday, the water line in the park had not been turned on by the Parks Department, but that is expected soon.

All of the plots in the garden have been spoken for, but there is a wait list and other information at https://summitcommunitygarden.org.

Plans and fund-raising continue to develop among the Summit Neighborhood Association, the Parks Department and concerned residents for the refurbishment of the playground equipment at the park.

A parade of wheelbarrows through the playground didn't seem to bother any of the children playing there.

A parade of wheelbarrows through the playground didn’t seem to bother any of the children playing there.

Even beginning gardeners provided sweat equity to fill the beds.

Even beginning gardeners provided sweat equity to fill the beds.

Already some of the children in the park were interacting with the gardens, one of the major goals of the programs.

Already some of the children in the park were interacting with the gardens, one of the major goals of the programs.

The beds filled up as a second shift of gardeners took over.

The beds filled up as a second shift of gardeners took over.

A backhoe from the Parks Department put the finishing touch to the project by straightening a damaged gate post.

A backhoe from the Parks Department put the finishing touch to the project by straightening a damaged gate post.

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Public notice from Miriam Hospital

Dear Neighbors,

Please be advised that on Saturday, April 15, Otis Elevator, Bay Crane, with support from Advanced Building Concepts, will remove one of our old Elevators and replace with a new one.

The crane will be positioned in the receiving area on Highland Avenue.  Start time will be 8:00 am, with anticipated completion about 2:00 pm.  In addition, be advised that that there will be a series of crane uses in the weeks to come needed to update our elevator services and to remove and replace air handling units. Per our commitment to the neighborhood, work will not commence before 8:00am.

We don’t anticipate any impact to our neighbors as we will contain all crane use within our property.  Should you have any questions please feel free to email me back with questions or call The Neighborhood Hotline at (401)-793-4040.

Sincerely,

Monica Anderson

Director Community Relations and Corporate Citizenship

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Join us to help shape your neighborhood

Dear Summit Neighbors,

The annual membership meeting of the Summit Neighborhood Association is scheduled for Monday, May 1, at 7 pm at the Highlands on the East Side, 101 Highland Ave. As usual, a key agenda item will be the election of new Board of Directors for 2017-2018. While a number of Board members will be returning, a few are departing, and we need to fill those seats with new people.

As chair of the nominating committee I am writing to ask you to please consider joining the SNA Board. It’s a great place to meet your neighbors, learn more about the community, and take an active role in trying to improve and enhance life in Summit.

The Board typically meets 10 or 11 times per year on the evening of the 3rd Monday of the month. At these meetings, we discuss community affairs, from traffic signals and crosswalks to crime reports and local politics. Our events committee plans events and activities (the music festival and the snow shoveling brigade, etc.). Our membership committee explores ways to promote the organization. The zoning committee keeps tabs on zoning changes and variances that affect the neighborhood, and the newsletter committee produces and distributes the SNA newsletter.  In election seasons, we host candidate forums. There are many other possible activities, and you can be part of deciding which ones SNA engages in.

In addition to attending Board meetings, members are expected to help deliver newsletters (when physical able), and participate in at least one event or serve on one committee.

If you are interested, please email me at thomas.a.schmeling@gmail.com or the other members of the nominating committee, Anneliese Greenier or Kerry Kohring   We’ll be happy to answer any questions. We are planning a luncheon on Sunday, April 23 for those who wish to join. There, you can meet other members of the Board and learn more about what we do.

Sincerely,

Tom Schmeling

Secretary, SNA

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Yard waste pickup begins April 10

yard waste

The city will start picking up yard waste at curbside on April 10.

Residents are instructed to place yard debris in paper bags and/or open barrel containers (no larger than 33-gallon) labeled “Yard Debris.”

Free stickers for the barrels are available for residents to pick up at the Department of Public Works, 700 Allens Ave., Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. For information, call (401)680-7522 or (401)467-7950 during those hours.

 

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City culls “tot lot” toys for safety reasons

There are a few toys remaining in the Summit Avenue playground.

There are a few toys remaining in the Summit Avenue playground.

The plastic toys in the Summit Avenue “tot lot” ­­– as well as the Gladys Potter and Morris Street parks – were culled by the city Parks Department for safety reasons, according to Superintendent Wendy Nilsson.

In a statement about the toys to SNA, she said, “We look at them in the context of national Playground and Safety Standards for public parks. Many of the toys have sharp edges, small parts that are choking hazards, or are damaged in such a way that they could trap little fingers.”

In addition, Nilsson said, “We don’t have the staff to repeatedly visit each park to check toys for hazards, and the reality is that, even if we did, very few of them would meet safety standards. As a compromise, our staff are instructed to periodically remove toys if there are safety issues or their numbers overtake the park. We have been thinning the toys this way for years.”

However, she pointed out, “my own children grew up playing with the tot lot plastic toys, so their removal is not something I take lightly. No one wants to disappoint a 3-year-old!”

In that context, Nilsson said the Parks Department “would welcome more neighbor involvement in our local parks more generally.”

“We would be happy to meet with representatives of local parks to discuss the future of plastic toys at the tot lots. This might start a valuable relationship between park neighbors and the Parks Department. There is an entire organization, the Partnership for Providence Parks, www.providenceparks.org, that works with us to establish and support Friends Groups so that we can have partners for all of our parks,” her statement said.

Nilsson added that “At Summit, we work with the Summit Neighborhood Association, but would love for many of you to get involved as we will soon be adding some additional play features and making some much needed repairs to the existing structures.”

Her statement further said, “We are also trying to create more fun things for the children to do in the parks so they might not miss all the plastic toys. Instead of adding plastic play equipment, we are working to create parks that connect children to nature and open and free play.  At many of our parks we are building berms, log retaining walls, rain gardens, and adding rocks for children to play on and explore.”

 

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Annual meeting to feature forum on transformation of neighborhoods

Plenty of parking is available at the Highlands.

Plenty of parking is available at the Highlands.

The Summit Neighborhood Association’s annual meeting this year will feature a forum led by Marc J. Dunkelman, author of The Vanishing Neighbor: The Transformation of American Community.

The presentation, one in a series sponsored by SNA, will focus on the consequences for public policy of an epochal shift in the structure of American life.

The gathering will begin at 7 pm Monday, May 1, at The Highlands on the East Side, 101 Highland Ave., – which has ample parking available – and open with a social time sharing pizza, beer, wine and soft drinks. There will be a review of SNA’s activities over the past year presented by President Dean Weinberg, followed by voting on a prepared slate of candidates for a new board of directors. Nominations also will be accepted from the floor.

Then the main event will begin.

Dunkelman_Marc - Version 2Dunkelman, a Taubman Fellow at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, will present the findings of his research on how the evolving American community has affected government, the economy and the resilience of the social safety net.

During more than a dozen years in Washington, D.C., Dunkelman was on the staff of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the vice president for strategy and communications at the Democratic Leadership Council. He was also a senior fellow at the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, a visiting fellow at the Bipartisan Policy Center and a fellow at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Advanced Governmental Studies. Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, and raised in Buffalo, N.Y., Dunkelman is a magna cum laude graduate of Columbia University, where he worked to found the Columbia Political Union.

In 2014, he published his book, in which he shows that routines that once put doctors and lawyers in touch with grocers and plumbers—interactions that encouraged debate and cultivated compromise—have changed dramatically since the postwar era. He says that both technology and the new routines of life connect tight-knit circles and expand the breadth of our social landscapes, but they’ve sapped the commonplace, incidental interactions that for centuries have built local communities and fostered healthy debate.

Dunkelman asserts that the disappearance of these once-central relationships—between people who are familiar but not close, or friendly but not intimate—lies at the root of America’s economic woes and political gridlock.

However, his book argues persuasively that to win the future we need to adapt yesterday’s institutions to the realities of the 21st-century American community.

After his presentation, Dunkelman will answer questions from the floor and sign copies of his book.

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What’s missing from this scene?

Snow is missing! Mother Nature cleaned up the mess she left and plowed Hope Street curb to curb.

Snow is missing! Mother Nature cleaned up the mess she left and plowed Hope Street curb to curb.

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Snowflake Bazaar at Summit Commons

snowfl bazzar jpeg at 560

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Vendors sought for Hope Street party

The Hope Street block party on May 21 last year.

The Hope Street block party on May 21 last year.

The Hope Street Merchants Association is going to hold its annual spring block party on Saturday, May 20, and is seeking applications from vendors. The street will be closed from Rochambeau to Fourth and there are to be food trucks, activities and performances as well as room for about 50 juried street vendors.

If you’re interested in a spot, there is an on-line application at: http://www.rhodycraft.com/bull-hsma-vendor-application.html

There is also an information sheet on the Rhody Craft website www.rhodycraft.com next to the application which should answer all of your questions.

 

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