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Pawtucket is a city of 71,148 residents founded in 1671, at the strategic falls of the Blackstone River and the upper tidewaters of Narragansett Bay. It is a city with a special place in the industrial history of the United States. For it was here at the Slater Mill Historic Site that Samuel Slater successfully constructed and operated machines for spinning cotton yarn in 1793. Besides textiles, a variety of machines and iron working shops grew up alongside the textile industry.
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Determined to be as pro-active as possible in addressing problem areas for rodents, the city is using technology as well as bait stations-three times as many as last year-to respond.
"We reorganized our approach and developed a tracking system with a software program to systematically track where we've been and where new complaints are coming from," said Zoning and Code Enforcement Director Shaun Logue.
"We can now account for all the properties with rat complaints, all the places where we have previously set out bait stations and what the results are. Every two weeks an automatic follow-up pops up," according to data input by city environmental inspectors, Logue said. Areas thus determined to have no activity will allow moving bait stations more quickly to new locations where they may be needed.
"It's a more modern approach to a very old problem," Logue said.
Logue said to ramp up for the active rodent season as the weather gets warmer, he ordered dozens of additional bait stations and now has approximately 100 available to deploy. While the Fairlawn and Woodlawn areas are the source of most complaints, he said no neighborhood should consider itself immune to rats and that the bait stations will be set out, with the property owner's signed permission, wherever needed.
"This is a quality of life issue for our neighborhoods and we will use whatever resources are needed to address it," said Mayor Donald R. Grebien, adding that a community meeting will be set up in the next few weeks to allow residents to voice any questions or concerns.
City environmental inspectors have undergone training by the state Department of Environmental Management. DEM-required notification cards, which also include emergency contact numbers, will be posted on property where bait stations are placed.
At Grebien's direction, Zoning & Code Enforcement has created an informative illustrated brochure with tips about rodent infestation and prevention as well as safety tips and links to other resources. The brochure is available on the city website at www.pawtucketri.com. To contact Zoning & Code Enforcement about a rodent issue, call 401-728-0500, ext. 254, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Pawtucket Parks and Recreation Division would like to recognize the City finalists for the Major League Baseball's Pitch, Hit and Run competition held at the Max Read Complex on Thursday, May 2nd.
The overall champion in the girl's 11- 12 year old division for pitching was Victoria Carrion while the run champion was Horizon Trainor. For the girl's 13-14 year old division, Victoria Gauthier was the pitch champion and Alyssa McCoart was the run champion.
In the boy's 9-10 year old division, Aaron Carrion was the all-around champion in the pitching, hitting and running competitions. Ryan Carrion received the honors of representing the boy's 13 – 14 year old division as overall champion in hitting, pitching and running.These champions will advance to the 17th annual Pitch, Hit and Run State Finals as representatives for the City of Pawtucket. This event will be held at McCoy Stadium on Saturday, May 11th at 9:00 a.m. These champions will compete once again, with the best in the state for an opportunity to represent Rhode Island for the Pitch, Hit and Run Regional event held at Fenway Park.
On Tuesday May 14, 2013 at 10:00 AM the Pawtucket Police Department will be holding its annual awards ceremony. The ceremony will be taking place at the Veteran's Amphitheatre located at the corner of Roosevelt Ave. and Exchange St. In the case of inclement weather the ceremony will take place in the City Council Chambers.
We will be recognizing the excellent work that members of the Pawtucket Police Department have demonstrated in calendar year 2012.
Nine officers will be receiving Merit Awards, 5 will be receiving Commendation Awards, 29 will be receiving Achievement Awards for Excellence and 33 will be receiving Letters of Recognition.
Mayor Donald R. Grebien announced he has submitted a budget for fiscal 2014 that contains no new tax increases for residential or commercial taxpayers.
The spending plan, submitted last week to the City Council, will undergo council committee review before receiving a public hearing on May 22.
Keys to the no-tax-increase budget while enhancing services include ongoing cost saving measures such as streamlining city functions, reducing positions, outsourcing trash transfer station and sanitation operations, receipt of a federal SAFER grant that will allow hiring 21 new firefighters while reducing overtime, shared services with the School Department and an increase in state aid.
The city became eligible for the state aid increase by submitting a Funding Improvement Plan to the state by the May 1 deadline.
The bottom line for the expiring fiscal year, which ends June 30, was boosted by increases in service charge revenues and in interest income, offsetting other areas. The budget also anticipates that no short term borrowing will be required to bridge to the new fiscal year, saving on interest costs.
The spending package also adds funding for services at the Mathieu Senior Center and Pawtucket Public Library, allocates $250,000 to continue rebuilding the city's "rainy day fund" reserves and reflects an increase of more than $1 million in the city's annual contribution to its police and fire pension fund.
"For the past two years, our taxpayers have stepped to the plate and supported our city with their hard-earned tax dollars. We fully recognize that Pawtucket still has a significant structural problem that we are working hard every day to get better control of, but this is simply not the time to ask for more from our taxpayers," Grebien said.
Grebien said the budget also focuses on several important priorities to promote sustainable growth and economic progress for the city including a greater emphasis on tools needed for economic development, while promoting quality of life issues including road improvements and putting an emphasis on neighborhood issues.
"Under my administration we will continue to put forth responsible, honest and transparent budgets that will deliver the services our residents and businesses expect and deserve, at a cost they can reasonably afford," Grebien said.For further information including the full budget proposal, go to the city website at www.pawtucketri.com.
The Pawtucket Parks & Recreation Division is announcing important new changes to the Slater Park Summer Camp Program this year. The Parks and Recreation Division will be accepting registrations for children ages 6 through 13 years of age who are looking to attend. The Slater Park Summer Camp is eligible to Pawtucket residents only and a 2012-2013 report card for review is required to enroll the child into camp.
Slater Park will be conducting two three-week sessions this summer from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The first session will take place from Monday, July 8 through Friday, July 26. The second session will begin on Monday, July 29 and continue through Friday, August 16. There will be a cost of $10. per child, per session. The first 200 children have the option to attend both sessions one and two. After the openings have been filled for both sessions, an additional 30 children will be given the option of session one only or 30 campers for session number two only.
Registrations are available for download and printing on the City of Pawtucket web-site, www.pawtucketri.com. On the City homepage scroll the left column for "Departments", click "Parks & Recreation" and click onto "Summer Camp Registration". Starting May 20, registrations will also be available at the Slater Park Office lobby, Monday through Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.
Registrations for those interested in attending will not be accepted until Friday, May 31 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Slater Park Carousel. After May 31, they will be accepted at the Slater Park Office as space allows on a first come, first registered basis. The registration and payment must be submitted in person, along with the child's report card from the 2012-2013 school session to show proof of residency in Pawtucket.
Limited openings are available for summer counselor employment for those 16 years of age or older along with counselor-in-training positions. These applications are available at the Slater Park Office. A valid driver's license or school ID and a social security card are required at the point of applying. If selected, you will be contacted with instructions for completing additional paperwork. Applicants 18 years of age or older who are selected, will require a BCI check prior to completing additional paperwork. Detailed information will be provided upon selection. There are several openings for non-paying "counselor-in-training" positions for ages 14 or 15 years old. A "CIT" notation should be included on the application. All openings will be filled and selected through a lottery to be held May 24.Other summer employment opportunities are available throughout the City including the AmeriCorps Vista Summer Associate Program through their website www.americorps.gov or call (800)942-2677.
Show and sell your creative endeavors in beautiful Slater Memorial Park! This annual event attracts over 20,000 people attendees and is a juried festival that will be open to the public on Saturday & Sunday, September 21 & 22 from 11-5pm each day. . This event is open to all crafters as well as artisans and creators of original items made by hand. The Slater Park Fall Festival will be a weekend that celebrates the beauty of the park -- from the Daggett Farm to Looff Carousel, the Rhode Island Watercolor Society and historic Daggett House. This 'open air market' features food, craft, exhibitions and performances with a special performance by the Rhode Island Philharmonic "Pops in the Park" on Sunday, September 22 at 5:30pm . Sunday will feature Sons & Daughters of Erin Irish Festival plus much more! Your application, payment in full and images must be received by MONDAY JULY 1, 2013. Please visit our website for the complete list of guidelines and fees, along with the downloadable application form. www.pawtucketartsfestival.org.
The Pawtucket Parks & Recreation Division will be conducting adult tennis leagues tentatively starting the week of June 3rd at the Mike Kenny tennis courts in Slater Park. All leagues start at 6 p.m. on their respective days. These leagues will continue for ten weeks.
The men's doubles league will take place on Monday evenings starting June 3rd. The men's singles league will begin on Wednesday, June 5th. The women's doubles league will take place on Tuesday evening, starting June 4th with the singles league beginning on Thursday, June 6th.
The cost for the singles league is $35.00 for residents and $50.00 for non-residents of Pawtucket. The cost is $40.00 for residents of Pawtucket and $55.00 for non-residents.Participants are asked to have a can of tennis balls on hand. Applications will be available for download on www.pawtucketri.com. On the left side of the City home page, scroll down and click onto "Departments". Click onto "Parks and Recreation" and look to the right hand column to download and print the application of your choice. Applications are also available at the Slater Park office starting April 16th. Space is limited to a first come, first serve basis. For further information, please contact the Slater Park office at 728-0500 ext. 251.
The Pawtucket Parks & Recreation Division is offering a variety of fitness and recreation classes at the Jenks Jr. High School and the Agnes Little School throughout the week. Classes will begin Monday, April 1 and run for eight weeks, weather permitting. All rescheduled classes will be made up at the end of the session. This spring session will include one new Saturday class for children, ages 2-6. Pawtucket native and award winning jazz singer/songwriter Michelle Cruz is introducing Toe Taps for Tots to the Parks & Recreation program. This program will engage kids in science, history and math through music.
Monday evening classes include Abs, Zumba, Muscle Toning, Yoga, and High Impact Aerobics. Tuesday is Pilates, Intense Interval and Dance Aerobics. Zumba returns on Wednesday night with Belly Dancing, Step classes and Ballroom Dancing. Pilates, Yoga and Dance Aerobics classes take place on Thursday nights. Saturday is youth day. Youth Fitness is offered for children, ages 4 through 16 years. Two gymnastic classes are offered for ages 4 to 6 years and another for ages 7 years and older. Arts and Crafts class is available to those children in the 3rd, 4th and 5th grades. Low Impact Aerobics takes place on Monday and Wednesday mornings at the School Street Boys Club.
These class rates vary in cost to Pawtucket residents from $20 to $40 for eight weeks and $25 to $45 for non-residents. To view class costs, schedule details or to print a registration form, visit the City website at www.pawtucketri.com. Look for the Parks and Recreation box to the right and click on "2013 Spring Flyer". The Pawtucket Parks & Recreation / Pawtucket Public Library Spring booklet is also available on-line and at various locations throughout the City. For further information, call 728-0500, extension 252.Registrations are being accepted at the Slater Park office, Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.
The city yard waste pickup and street sweeping programs will both begin on Monday, April 1 and extend to October. Click here for complete details.
State Historic Tax Credits Are Key to Rebuilding Urban Communities
For urban core communities in Rhode Island like Pawtucket, restoration of the State Historic Tax Credits program is a needed catalyst to help recharge our economic engines. For several decades, Pawtucket and other similar urban communities in our region have witnessed an outward migration of manufacturing jobs toward cheaper labor and newer facilities elsewhere. Our city's historic downtown similarly saw a net out-migration of retail with the advent of suburban malls and megamalls such as the one in Providence.
Those demographic changes left us searching for innovative new uses for the wealth of historic but often underutilized or vacant commercial properties and mills throughout our community. The question was not merely what to do to revive these wonderful structures but how to attract the typically costly and extensive redevelopment and reinvestment required to restore them to productive economic use, and find new tenants to fill them.
We began having success a decade and a half ago in Pawtucket with the creation of our Arts & Entertainment District in the downtown and riverfront sections of our city. With authorization from the General Assembly, artists, artisans and other creative professionals were offered sales and income tax incentives to live and work in the district and began streaming into our downtown. But for the bigger projects -- the redevelopment of our larger mill buildings -- more assistance was needed. That help came in the form of the State Historic Tax Credits program.
For Pawtucket, we found that mill redevelopment projects, funded by state and federal historic tax credits, were important on many levels: for historic preservation, quality of life, public safety, economic development and the expansion of the city's tax base. With Pawtucket already 95 percent developed, vacant land for new manufacturing plants can rarely be found. What we are fortunate to have are a substantial number of mills and other historic properties at a time when such commercial stock has become more and more valued by both developers and tenants.
One outstanding example of how the previous State Historic Tax Credits program attracted developers to our community is the former Lebanon Mill across the Blackstone River from City Hall. Underutilized, it was valued at $1,029,800 for annual city tax revenue of $25,271. On a great site with great potential, it was the historic credits that unlocked its hidden value.
Redeveloped as Riverfronts Lofts, a 55-unit, $21 million upscale condominiums project backed by historic tax incentives, the property is now valued at more than $10.3 million and this year will contribute $238,742 in property tax revenues. That's a remarkable increase of 944%. Also not to be overlooked economically are the attendant auto tax revenues plus sales and income taxes derived from the new residents, many of them attracted from outside Rhode Island.
Similarly, the Parkin Yarn mill just west of downtown had stood vacant for more than 20 years while one proposed developer after another failed to secure financing. Thanks to the historic tax credits, the old mill became Bayley Lofts, with 25 units including five set aside as affordable housing. Tax revenues went from $3,882 to $108,047 annually, an amazing increase of 2,783%, and the building's value has gone from $156,000 to more than $4.6 million.
Just behind Bayley Lofts, after a New Hampshire-based developer renovated the former Slater Cotton Mill for 129 loft units it went from a value of about $1.3 million and taxes of $33,335 to a value of more than $2.4 million and annual tax revenue of $229,033, an increase of 687%.
State Historic Tax Credits also fueled one of the largest and most exciting projects that Pawtucket had seen in years. A California-based developer purchased the former Hope Webbing mill complex and spent $15 million transforming it into a self-contained artists' village with light manufacturing for artisans, commercial office suites and loft-style living spaces for artists. Hope Artiste Village now houses over 80 small businesses including Seven Stars Bakery, Mixed Magic Theatre, art galleries, the Met (one of the largest music venues in Rhode Island), and the Winter Farmers Market. The developers are now entering the next phase with construction soon to start on 149 residential rental units.
Without the crucial support of the prior State Historic Tax Credits program, until its active continuation was basically suspended in 2008, it is safe to say that none of these major projects for Pawtucket would have ever gotten off the ground.
Looking forward, a private, nonprofit developer would use the restored tax credits to help renovate the 92-year-old former Old Colony Bank building on Main Street, vacant for more than 15 years, in a $4 million mixed use project.
We should also remain mindful that the clock continues ticking if we are to preserve and revive the legacy of historic structures that dot our urban landscape throughout the state. Once vibrant mills that are vacant or underutilized are not only economic sinkholes but also become fire hazards waiting to ignite. We saw that in Pawtucket when a fire of undetermined origin destroyed the massive Greenhalgh Mill in November 2003, also destroying 16 homes, injuring nine residents and 17 firefighters and devastating an entire neighborhood. In 2010, an arson fire claimed a large section of the former Union Wadding Mill, listed on the National Historic Register. A fully occupied mill rehabbed up to modern fire codes is the best way to eliminate such potential public safety hazards.
Since Pawtucket began its mill redevelopment efforts, our local success story has earned recognition in major publications across the nation, from Boston and New York to San Francisco. It is a story we hope to continue to tell, along with similar communities in Rhode Island who will benefit greatly – as will the State itself -- from revival of the State Historic Tax Credits program, as is being advocated by Governor Chafee.
There is little doubt that the prior program, which admittedly required some fine-tuning, has been an economic development tool virtually second to none for urban core communities. Its prior success should not now be held against it. Hopefully, the Rhode Island General Assembly will see the wisdom of renewing and giving communities this proven development tool to restore historic properties, create jobs and new places to live and work, while also preserving our historic heritage for many more generations to come.
The Pawtucket Prevention Coalition celebrated its 19th Annual Prevention Academy Awards ceremony at a dinner on Thursday, Feb. 28 at the China Inn. The awards signify community involvement including in activities that keep children away from substance abuse and focused on healthful and positive activities. Flanked by Mayor Donald R. Grebien (far left) and PPC Director Diane Dufresne (far right), the award recipients were (from left) Tammy Ward, Cynthia Pimentel, Steve Vadnais, Ama Amponsah and Emily Jodka, awarded in tandem with her co-director of New Urban Farmers, Bleu Grijalva, who was unable to attend.
Pawtucket put out the kelly-green carpet Tuesday when members of the St. Patrick's Parade Committee assisted city workers with repainting the giant shamrock on Roosevelt Avenue outside City Hall for the 31st annual St. Patrick's Parade, to be held rain or shine on Saturday, March 2.
The parade will step off at noon from Division Street outside McCoy Stadium, proceed down South Bend Street to Walcott Street then finish at the reviewing stand in front of City Hall, 137 Roosevelt Ave.
The grand marshal for this year's parade is Michael Cassidy, a lifelong city resident and former longtime city planning director. Cassidy will be feted by family and friends at the Grand Marshal's Reception on Friday, March 1 from 6-8 p.m. at the Pawtucket Armory Center for the Arts, 172 Exchange St.
Saturday's parade will feature marching bands, floats, dancers, fire trucks, clowns and numerous community and sports organizations. A free party at the Armory, sponsored by the Parade Committee, will be held immediately following the parade. Co-chairs for this year's events are Arthur Brunelle and Chris McDonald. Parade Committee members will be wearing memory ribbons in honor of Charlie Kelley, a longtime committee member who died earlier this year.
The repainting of the giant green-and-white shamrock displayed on Roosevelt Avenue outside City Hall, a local tradition just ahead of the city's annual St. Patrick's Parade, will be conducted on Tuesday, Feb. 26 beginning at 9 a.m.
Mayor Donald R. Grebien will be on hand to assist members of the St. Patrick's Parade Committee. The public is invited.
The city's 31st annual St. Patrick's Parade will step off at noon on Saturday, March 2 from Division Street, between McCoy Stadium and Jenks Junior High School, and follow a route to end in front of the reviewing stand outside Pawtucket City Hall, 137 Roosevelt Avenue.
As he has since first taking office, Mayor Donald R. Grebien has scheduled a series of "Mayor's Community Meetings," to be held this year in March and again in October, throughout the city's neighborhoods.
The meetings are offered as an ongoing opportunity for residents, business people or any member of the public to express any concerns, problems or ideas regarding the city to the mayor and his department heads.
In March, the schedule will be: Tuesday, March 5, Flora S. Curtis School, 582 Benefit St.; Thursday, March 7, Goff Junior High School, 974 Newport Ave.; Tuesday, March 12, Fallon Memorial School, 62 Lincoln Ave.; Thursday, March 14, Elizabeth Baldwin School, 50 Whitman St.; Tuesday, March 19, Francis J. Varieur School, 486 Pleasant St.; Thursday, March 21, Nathanael Greene School, 285 Smithfield Ave.
In October, the schedule will be: Thursday, Oct. 3, Flora S. Curtis School; Tuesday, Oct. 8, Goff Junior High School; Thursday, Oct. 10, Fallon Memorial School; Tuesday, Oct. 15, Francis J. Varieur School; Thursday, Oct. 17, Elizabeth Baldwin School; Tuesday, Oct. 22, Nathanael Greene School.
The meetings schedule is also listed on the City of Pawtucket 2013 Calendar, available online at www.pawtucketri.com.
All meetings are scheduled for 6 p.m. and are open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.
U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressman Representative David Cicilline today joined with Mayor Donald R. Grebien and Fire Chief William Sisson, in a news conference at the Cottage Street Fire Station to announce a $4.2 million federal grant to help the Pawtucket Fire Department hire additional firefighters to meet its staffing needs.
"Our grant will go directly toward hiring 21 frontline firefighters to bring us to 151 firefighters," Grebien said.
"Approval of this major grant is great news and a significant boost for public safety in our city. We are truly grateful for the efforts of Senator Reed with Senator Whitehouse and Congressman Cicilline to assure us of this funding which will put more firefighters on the front lines in Pawtucket," Grebien said.
The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant will cover the cost of all pay and benefits for the new positions over the next two years.
"This federal grant will help Pawtucket hire more firefighters and enhance their ability to serve and protect the community," Reed said. "This was a very competitive process and I congratulate Mayor Grebien, Chief Sisson, and their team for winning this merit-based grant. Keeping firefighters and first responders on the job is critical to public safety and these funds will boost that effort," said Reed, who hosts an annual workshop to assist Rhode Island fire departments apply for federal grants.
"Pawtucket firefighters put their lives on the line every day to protect the city's residents and keep the community safe," said U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. "This grant will help ensure the Pawtucket Fire Department has the staff and resources it needs to effectively respond to emergencies. I congratulate Mayor Grebien and Fire Chief Sisson for putting together a successful grant application."
"The brave men and women of the Pawtucket Fire Department put their lives on the line every single day in service to their community," said U.S. Representative David Cicilline. "I am pleased to join Senator Reed and Senator Whitehouse to announce these federal funds that will help create new jobs and ensure that the Pawtucket Fire Department continues to provide effective emergency services whenever they are required."
Grebien singled out the grant-writing work of Lt. Gil Woodside and Lt. Ed Shottek, who worked on the application along with Chief Sisson.
Sisson said he expected to soon start an eight-week training academy for fire recruits with the goal of bringing the new firefighters on the job by approximately May 8 and return staffing to full complement.
The SAFER grant is the latest financial boost for Pawtucket's fire protection services. Last month, the Pawtucket Fire Department received a $528,038 federal Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) to help purchase 75 new Self Contained Breathing Apparatus units.
In 2011, the Pawtucket Fire Department responded to 13,723 incidents and provided mutual aid 574 times to communities in both Rhode Island and Massachusetts. The Department operates six engine companies, two ladder companies, a Special Operations unit, and two medical rescue units.SAFER funding is a competitive grant program that is administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). To date, Rhode Island has received nearly $10.7 million in federal SAFER and AFG grants in fiscal year 2012.
Click on the link to send comments concerning the detailed study performed by city consultant Public Safety Solutions Inc. regarding city fire & rescue services Firestudycomments@pawtucketri.com
In the event of severe weather, use the phone numbers below for emergency services.
Emergency phone numbers and links
Pawtucket Police: 401-726-3911
Pawtucket Fire: 401-725-1422
City Hall: 401-728-0500
Public Works: 401-728-0500 Ext. 284
National Grid - To report an outage: 800-322-3223
National Grid - Power Outage Map - https://www1.nationalgridus.com/PowerOutageMap-RI-RES
Verizon - 1-800-Verizon (1-800-837-4966) or at www.verizon.com/support
Pawtucket City Hall
137 Roosevelt Avenue
Pawtucket, RI 02860
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