The members of the Summit Neighborhood Association, at their annual meeting, elected seven new people to the organization’s board of directors and heard from the area’s elected officials.
Chosen Feb. 27 by a unanimous voice vote of about 60 people at Summit Commons, 99 Hillside Drive, were: Anthony Arrigo, a professor of English; Howie Gladstone, a retired office manager; Britt Page, a consultant in urban planning and economic development; Brad R. Pelletier, an attorney; Peter Sandby-Thomas, a political science professor; Thomas A. Schmeling, also a professor of political science; and Jennifer Trayner, a psychiatry resident.
They join the nine incumbent members of the board, including officers Dean Weinberg, president, Jesse Polhemus, vice president and Harriet Hemphill, treasurer.
Weinberg reviewed the group’s accomplishments during the past year, including the reopening of the historic Henry Bowen Anthony fountain in Lippitt Park, the music festival in the same park, the fall Apple Challenge bakeoff, the Summit For Sale multi-site yard sale, the founding of the North Main Street Merchants Association and the continued cooperation with the Hope Street Merchants Association. He also cited SNA’s monitoring of the city’s overnight parking issue and commended the block captains of the neighborhood crime watch.
Looking forward, Weinberg identified continued development of North Main Street as the group’s main focus during the coming year as well as an expanded music festival, more neighborhood events, workshops on do-it-yourself projects, pre-election forums, community gardening and volunteer snow shoveling.
Weinberg then introduced Providence Mayor Angel Taveras, who discussed the city’s efforts to balance the budget by eliminating the massive deficit. The mayor warned of the tragic consequences of slashing government to the point of destroying quality of life. “If we cut community services to kids, what kind of city would we be living in,” he asked. Taveras said he would strive to avoid bankruptcy, since “If the city doesn’t do well, the state doesn’t do well.” He said he would seek “help” from the city’s retirees by focusing on cost-of-living adjustments that contributed to structural problems caused “by promises made 20 years ago.”
State Sen. Rhode Perry explained some of the changes resulting from the redistricting of the city and offered help from her office to homeowners facing foreclosure. House Speaker Gordon Fox reported that he supported the mayor on averting bankruptcy and that the rest of the state must share the sacrifice of Providence, where high taxes are “paying for the past.” City Councilman Kevin Jackson cited his work with the SNA on the fountain, moving a utility pole blocking two-way access to North Main Street and the redevelopment of that thoroughfare with federal funds.
Peter Kammerer, head of the North Main merchants group, said it had hired designer Jonathan Harris to help “turn North Main back into a neighborhood street” using money from the Narragansett Bay Commission’s sewer project. Kammerer invited public participation at the new board of directors meetings at 5 p.m. the first Wednesday of each month at Home and Hospice Care at 1085 North Main St.
Other reports to the meeting included police Lt. John Ryan and two patrol officer discussing how to avoid becoming victims of crime, a representative from the R.I. Resource Recovery Corporation describing the coming expansion of waste recycling and a community gardening expert from California calling for “passion and persistence” in developing such plots here.
The SNA board of directors meets the third Monday of every month at 7 p.m. in Summit Commons and neighborhood residents are encouraged to attend.