EAST PROVIDENCE — By a 5-0 vote and after much discussion, the East Providence City Council at its Tuesday, June 4, meeting passed a resolution approving plans to redevelop the vacant Kettle Point property on the waterfront off of Veterans Memorial Parkway.
The $80 million project, which would be built under the working title “Village on the Waterfront,” will be privately funded by Churchill and Banks, doing business as C&B Kettle Point LLC. As part of the resolution, the Council also approved the issuance of $9.37 million in Tax Incremental Financing bonds for the purpose of improving public access to the area.
“This project has been planned out to succeed,” said Ward 3 City Councilman Thomas Rose in voicing his support of the plan. “I think this is going to be a huge asset to the city. I think it’s going in the right direction. It’s been scrutinized, checked and rechecked.”
The proposal was scrutinized one final time during a public hearing on the matter where various members of the community, including past and present city board members Tom Riley and Gene Saveory, voiced their concerns with the project.
Questions and comments dealt with the possible added burden to the city’s police, fire and public works departments as well as on the school system.
Representatives from Churchill and Banks along with members of the Council attempted to allay those concerns by pointing out the city was not liable for any amount associated with the project, which see just over 400 apartments/condominiums built.
According to Waterfront District regulations, 10 percent, or about 40 units, must be considered “affordable housing.” City Planning Director Jeanne Boyle said Tuesday, “affordable” for East Providence’s median household earnings of $58,000 would be rent of $1,000 per month.
The developers claim if and when the project gets off the ground, the city would immediately see its tax revenue on the property almost double from the current $88,000 to approximately $140,000. That total would only grow in the future.
In addition, 50 percent of the revenue generated from the development would go into the city’s General Fund with the other half going towards repayment of the bonds funding the project.
Liquor stores fined
Three city liquor stores caught up in the most recent underage drinking sting conducted by the East Providence Police Department and East Providence Prevention Coalition each received fines as first-time offenders for serving minors.
McGreen’s Fine Wine & Spirits, located at 1086 Willett Avenue, Riverside Liquors, Inc., located at 225 Bullocks Point Avenue and Town Liquor Co., Inc. , doing business as Town Wine & Spirits, located on Newport Avenue, were fined $250 apiece.
Though is wasn’t on the docket, news finally broke publicly about the imminent closure of the swimming pool at East Providence High School.
Speaking as a resident and not as a member of the School Committee, Anthony Ferreira noted the closing of the facility while arguing against the city’s involvement in the Kettle Point project.
Mr. Ferreira said bids to overhaul the six-decade old pool area at the high school came in at about $4 million. The city nor the school department currently has the means to fund the fixes, meaning the pool will likely be shut down at the conclusion of the current school term in late June.
The Council approved a bid in the amount of $111,546 to Architectural Preservation Group for carpentry repairs to the Charles I.D. Looff Carousel.
The Planning Department, Carousel Commission and the Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission reviewed two bids and recommended to the Council to award the contract to Architectural Preservation Group.