Cooperative effort by city, neighbors plants trees along Hope, North Main

City Forester Douglas Still, behind tree, instructs the volunteers on how to prepare the trees for planting along North Main Street.

There are now dozens of new trees along Hope and North Main streets – thanks to cooperative efforts by the city Department of Parks and Recreation and Summit neighbors.

On April 8, city crews cut eight new tree pits through the sidewalks along Hope Street and put in new soil. Then they added the trees, including four in front of the Rochambeau Library branch. The site selection was done in cooperation with the Hope Street Merchants Association.

Then, on April 13, city crews again delivered trees, but this time along North Main Street to a collection of about 20 neighborhood volunteers, including members of SNA, who dug the holes, planted the trees and spread the mulch. A total of 25 trees were put in, including some on streets intersecting North Main. When the planting was finished, Whole Foods Market provided goody bags for the workers.

The effort was supervised by City Forester Douglas Still and coordinated by George Harvey of Groundwork Providence. It was part of the Providence Neighborhood Planting Program (PNPP), a street-tree planting partnership of the Mary Elizabeth Sharpe Street Tree Endowment, the city and its residents.

Since 1988, the endowment has matched Parks Department funds to provide trees, soil, sidewalk preparation and tree delivery at no cost to Providence residents who apply for and receive a Neighborhood Street Tree Planting Award.

The new trees might not look like much now, but are a legacy of beauty, shade and clean air to future generations.

Cultural Survey on North Main Street

As part of our work with the City of Providence to revitalize the North Main Street corridor, we hope you’ll respond today to a very short and anonymous three-question survey to help us understand the distinct identity of North Main Street, Broad Street, and Elmwood Avenue. We hope to understand each street’s character well enough to define a distinct theme, or identity, for each.  This survey is being  hosted by the City’s Arts, Culture + Tourism department.


Business profile – Runners’ store moves into neighborhood

By Howie Gladstone
SNA board member

Rhode Runner, a store dedicated to supporting athletes on foot, has recently opened in the Summit Neighborhood.

Principal owners Bob Beschoff and his wife, Colleen, moved the business to 657 North Main St. from South Main Street, where it had been since 2001, to better serve customers on the East Side. It has a grand opening sale running through April 21.

Both Beschoffs have been involved with local road races and marathons, plus Bob has been a footwear developer with Brooks and now with New Balance. Their staff members all have extensive backgrounds in local events as well.


Welcome the North Main Street Merchants Association!

The North Main Street committee of SNA has been hard at work on forming the formal North Main Street Merchants Association, a separate non-profit organization with the purpose of bettering this important and historic commercial corridor.  They are very pleased to announce that the first meeting of this new organization has taken place.  The organization still needs to be officially formed as a non-profit, and this first meeting was held to gauge merchant interest in such an organization.

On this past Wednesday evening, its first meeting was held at The Sandwich Hut.  Present were members of the SNA North Main Street committee, as well as eleven interested merchants.  Also, there are several other interested merchants who could not make this meeting, but who hope to join the organization.

It was an encouraging start.  We look forward to formalizing the organization and continuing the work of turning North Main Street back into a neighborhood main street that is safe, well-lit, pedestrian-friendly, and full of occupied commercial and residential properties.

Peter Kammerer of the Sandwich Hut has been a major driving force behind this new organization, as well as behind the SNA North Main Street committee since its inception more than eight years ago.  Others instrumental to the project include Summit neighbors Anneliese Greenier and Greg Gerritt, SNA Preseident George Schietinger and SNA VP Jim Kelley.  North Main Street has a long road ahead, and theirs and others continued efforts are appreciated by all.

Take SNA’s 2009 Summit Issues Survey

What does your neighborhood need?  Help plan Summit Neighborhood Association’s activities for 2009 by taking SNA’s amazingly quick 2009 Community Issues Survey Click Here to take survey.

The top issues emerging from this survey will be discussed in detail at our 2009 Annual Meeting coming up on February 23 at 7pm at Summit Commons Nursing Home 99 Hillside Ave.

Workshop on No. Main History – Tues. Sept. 23

Please join expert guests and neighborhood sages for a lively discussion of North Main’s surprising past (and potential rebirth) as a sports, entertainment and retail center at the Carriage House Theater, 9 Duncan Avenue from 7 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 23. (Duncan Avenue is opposite the Branch Ave. fire house between Action Auto Parts and a law office. The Carriage House is right behind the law office.)

Featured Presenters:
Dr. Robert Cvornyek, Chairman, History Department, Rhode Island College
Mack Woodward, Rhode Island Historic Preservation and Heritage Commission
Special Guests:
Stanley Crum, neighborhood historian
J Hogue, Art in Ruins
Morgan Grefe, RI Historical Society

For more information, visit our new site for North Main Street:

Jewish Family Service moving to North Main St

In another sign of life on long-dormant North Main Street, Jewish Family Services shared the following announcement:

On December 27, 2007, Jewish Family Service is moving from its Waterman Street location to 959 North Main Street. The Jewish Family Service programs which will be housed at the new location include Adoption Options, Home Care, the Counseling Center, Lifeline RI and AgeWell, the senior information and referral service.

This new location will make it easier to provide a comfortable space for both clients and staff, as well as being conveniently located with easy highway and public transportation access. Erin Minior, Interim Executive Director, says that, “The professionals at JFS are so pleased to be moving to a location that will enable us to better serve our clients. This space will also be more conducive to community programs and family life education.”

All contact information for JFS will remain the same. The phone number is 401-331-1244 and the email is The move will not cause any stoppage in services.

Jewish Family Service is an organization whose mission is to sustain, nurture and strengthen the emotional and general well-being and stability of families and individuals throughout the life cycle. JFS offers counseling, Family Life Education, Home care Services for sick, elderly or disabled individuals, Lifeline Rhode Island, Adoption Options, a Kosher Congregate Mealsite, Meals on Wheels and Nutrition programs.

North Main Project moving toward a vision

Public meeting on North Main Street’s future Wednesday, July 11 at 7PM at Sandwich Hut, 1253 North Main Street – please join us.

Volunteers with the SNA North Main Street have been busy reaching out to stakeholders over the last few months, gathering information, ideas and input that our consultant, Gates, Leighton and Associates, can incorporate in their plans and drawings of a future North Main Street.

Join us on July 11 to talk with Randy Collins of GLA about his plans for first draft drawings. We will meet again on July 25 and August 8 to review the drawings as they evolve.

We are very pleased that Ray Watson, Executive Director of Mt. Hope Neighborhood Association and Chris Lopes, President of the Mt. Hope Board, have joined our steering committee for this project. Any new development must help to address the needs of Mt. Hope residents, including affordable housing, new employment and outdoor recreation.
Over the last two months, we’ve had conversations with Chief Operating Officer Sandra Coletta of Miriam Hospital, with Alix Ogden, Supertendent of the Parks Department, with the board and leadership of Mt. Hope Neighborhood Association, with Carla DeStefano of the nonprofit housing development group SWAP, with Steven Lewinstein, co-owner and developer of the former Sears/Anderson Little site. We’ve held a meeting of business owners at the Penalty Box and we’ve attended the Mt. Hope Greenup. Two weeks ago we had a very productive talk with Director of Planning and Development Thom Deller and our planner for Summit and Mt. Hope, Bonnie Nickerson.

SNA North Main Group writes its shopping list

Business incubators, green space and mixed-use residential development got top the priority from members of SNA’s North Main Street Group last week at its third “Sandwich Hut Summit” on May 25 We zeroed in on what North Main should look like and what specific projects would do the most to bring that future about.

The group agreed that a vital North Main needs much more than suburban-style stores surrounded by parking lots. (more…)