A Letter from the President March 2021

By Ethan Gyles, SNA President

On behalf of current and past SNA leadership, and many many Summit neighbors, I’d like to share gratitude for the hard work and friendship of Monica Anderson, who served for many years as neighborhood liaison for The Miriam Hospital. Miriam is the largest institution in our neighborhood, and we appreciate the collaborative approach Monica worked to foster with all of us who live around their campus. In recent years with Monica as a liaison, Miriam/Lifespan have provided significant community grants and engaged in charitable activities serving the Summit and Mount Hope neighborhoods.

Monica has accepted a role at Orlando Health in sunny Florida, and we wish her the best. Thank you, Monica. We look forward to ongoing collaboration with Miriam and its staff, who continue to maintain the neighborhood hotline at 401-793-4040. 

Annual meeting elects directors, gets updates from activists in the community

State Sen. Gayle Goldin and Rep. Aaron Regunberg discuss their legislative priorities at the SNA annual meeting at the Highlands on the East Side.

Almost 60 people attended the annual meeting of the Summit Neighborhood Association May 20 to get updates from its officers plus elected officials and public servants as well as enjoy a social evening with other residents.

Gathering at 7 p.m. in the main dining area of the Highlands on the East Side, 101 Highland Ave., the audience, sipping wine and beer and munching on pizza as well as Highlands-supplied desserts, was welcomed by SNA President Dean Weinberg, who then quickly introduced two speakers who had commitments elsewhere.

First, Wendy Nilsson, the recently named director of the Providence Parks Department, described her excitement of her new post and said she intended to work with the people of the neighborhoods, adding that she was already familiar with the efforts of SNA to develop community gardens in the Summit Avenue park and “tot lot” playground as part of its refurbishment.

Second, state Sen. Gayle Goldin spoke of her efforts in the General Assembly, in cooperation with Summit’s Rep. Aaron Regunberg, who said he agreed with her, to raise the minimum wage so workers could contribute to an economic revitalization of the city, an objective she cited as vital to the quality of life of residents.

Weinberg then turned to a review of SNA’s accomplishments of the previous year, listing the huge music festival in Lippitt Park, the yard sale at the Church of the Redeemer, the bake-off competition at Seven Stars, the holiday caroling for charity, the snow-shoveling program to aid the handicapped and elderly and the group’s cooperation with various efforts by the Hope Street Merchants Association.

HSMA co-president Pernilla Frazier elaborated on those efforts, stressing the block party scheduled for June 6, the project to bring solar-powered streetlights to the area, a volunteer cleanup of the winter’s debris and new bicycles racks coming.

Regunberg returned to the floor, and in response to a question, said he generally is cautious about the proposal for a new stadium, but is keeping an open mind and listening to his constituents.

The main business event of the evening, the election of a new SNA board of directors, was conducted by Secretary Thomas Schmeling . The following officers were approved by a unanimous voice vote: Weinberg, president; Schmeling, secretary; Kerry Kohring, vice president; and Vishal Jain, treasurer. Re-elected as directors were Jim Barfoot, Grant Dulgarian, Anneliese Greenier, Daniel MacLellan, Michael McGlynn, Britt Page, Sheila Perlow and Sharon Lee Waldman. New directors approved were Erik Christiansen, Lee Clasper-Torch, Emily Spitzman, Mark Tracy and Karina Holyoak Wood. (See profiles below.)

Providence Police Capt. George Stamatakos concluded the presentation part of the meeting with an update on the string of burglaries and breakins around the neighborhood, explaining how a few known juveniles have been arrested but released by the courts numerous times. Answering questions from the audience, he urged residents to take common-sense precautions to deter crime, especially not having open doors or windows and never leaving anything in parked cars.

Some audience members stayed afterwards to chat with the speakers and to have a last glass of wine or a pastry delight.


Here are profiles of the new board members.

Erik Christiansen lives on Rochambeau Avenue and has been a Summit resident for four years. He is a history professor at Rhode Island College and is involved in local community-history projects, including one at the North Burial Ground. His special interest is in promoting walkability and safety in the neighborhood.
Lee Clasper-Torch lives on Fourth Street and has been a Summit resident for 25 years. He is an adjunct professor of the philosophy of religion at the Community College of Rhode Island and is men’s engagement coordinator for the R.I. Coalition Against Domestic Violence. His special interest is in community building and neighborhood advocacy.
Emily Spitzman lives on Lauriston Street and has been a Summit resident for 6 1/2 years. She is an assistant professor at Johnson and Wales University with a special interest in education and language learning.
She has previously served on the SNA Board of Directors.
Mark Tracy lives on Arlington Avenue with his wife and two children. He is on the boards of both Home and Hospice Care of Rhode Island and Brown University’s Association of Class Leaders. He earned his B.A. at Brown and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Harvard. His “day job” is with Cargill, working with public pension funds, foundations and endowments. His wife, Molly, is a pediatric neurologist at Hasbro Children’s Hospital.
Karina Holyoak Wood lives on Ogden Street and has been an East Sider for 18 years, moving to Summit last year. She is the public policy director for the American Lung Association in Rhode Island and is a parent advocate for improving the public schools. Her special interests include local politics and running.

SNA President Dean Weinberg briefs members on the organization's accomplishments.

**New website**

The new SNA site is here!

And here it is….  We hope that you enjoy it!  It can be accessed through www.summitneighbors.org and www.sna.providence.ri.us .

Please keep in mind that in the transition process, blog posts from January 13, 2010 through today will not appear.  That is the time period we were working on this site, so the ones in the middle got cut with the old site.

Please feel free to leave comments, and if you have something you would like posted, email it to sna@sna.providence.ri.us .

Thanks to Ian Donahue and Sam Holland for their help with the site!

Busy fall meeting schedule for SNA

Please join Summit Neighborhood Association and our presenter, urban planner Jonathan Harris, as we investigate problems and potential at underused properties along the northern end of North Main Street. Jonathan has conducted a full study of property ownership and current uses and has interviewed major owners and stakeholders. We will discuss the potential and opportunities to engage the major owners in joint master planning for development of this area. Your views on what should be included will be welcome.
We meet Tuesday Oct. 7 at at the offices of Jewish Family Services, 959 North Main Street at 7 p.m. We will end in time for you to see the Presidential debate at 9 pm.


Candidates NIght – October 20, 7 p.m. – Summit Commons 

Ladies Night – November 13 7-9 p.m. J. Marcel, Hope St 

SNA Monthly Meetings All neighbors welcome. Meetings at 7.p.m. at Summit Commons, 99 Hillside Avenue 

  • Monday, • October 27 
  • Monday, • November 17, guest: Public Works Dir. John Nicholson 
  • Monday, • December 15 

North Main Project Workshops 

  • Tuesday, • November 11 Residential North Main, Fantasy or Vision? 
  • Tuesday, • December 2 North Main and the End of Oil 

Neighborhood charette outcomes shared

The city Department of Planning and Development (DPD) issued A “Draft Action Plan” for the Summit, Mt. Hope and Blackstone neighborhoods at a public meeting this past November 14th. The plan summarizes work done at our four-day neighborhood charette held in September. It’s neither final nor official yet, so it’s a good time for neighbors, whether you participated in the charette or not, to take a look.
The plan presents six objectives, each with two to four projects. For each project, a number of actions are proposed along with those responsible and a target date. The plan reflects the strength – open dialog – and the weakness – the need to attend workday sessions – of the charette process. (more…)

Build your social capital at SNA meeting Feb 25

Join us for the biggest neighborhood meeting of the year, the Annual Meeting of SNA members on Monday, Feb. 25 at 7PM at the Rochambeau Branch Library, 708 Hope Street.

We’ll review SNA activities, elect our new 2008 board and explore ways to build your non-monetary portfolio – your social capital account. The idea of social capital was popularized in Robert Putnam’s 1999 book Bowling Alone. (more…)

Providence Tomorrow on SNA Agenda for Oct.5

Summit Neighborhood Association’s next Board meeting will be held on Thursday, Oct. 5 at 7PM in the Rochambeau Branch Library. The public is always invited to our meetings.

Our agenda will include preparation for the important task of planning for the future of Summit and the entire city of Providence through the City’s upcoming Providence Tomorrow programs. (See Picture a Better Providence below.) We have learned that the first series of citywide “charrettes” will take place during the week of Oct. 11 through 14., but times and places are yet to be set. Area plans for clusters of 3 or 4 neighborhoods are supposed to follow early next year. Planner Bonnie Nickerson has been invited to bring us up to date on that process on Oct.5.

Also sure to be discussed: final plans for our election-eve Candidates Forum (to be scheduled for the last week of October), updates  on  our North Main Streeet development efforts,  Hillside Health Center and sidewalks.

If you would like to present or suggest an issue for our agenda, please contact me – Jon Howard 331-2272. (more…)