Hope springs eternal for East Providence

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Hope springs eternal is a refrain familiar to most ardent baseball fans at this point on the calendar. The anticipation of another season just off on the horizon with all its possibilities sitting right there in front of them. The chance to erase the misery and disappointment of the past a palpable and reasonable outcome of the months ahead.

Here in East Providence, hope springs eternal is a mantra with just as much meaning and opportunity for its residents, regardless if they give two hoots about what happens on a baseball diamond.

The city, you see, sits on the precipice of a renewal in just about all its quarters,

In a few days, a new superintendent of schools takes the position. Kim Mercer will be the first permanent superintendent in some 18 months. She will not only be tasked with rebuilding a school department rocked by defections during that time, but she will also have the opportunity to reignite a passion for performance in her ranks, something that was lost under the ill-fated direction of past School Committees and superintendents.

Of similar if not greater importance, at the end of next week the Budget Commission is scheduled to hand back the reins of authority over East Providence to the City Council, School Committee and City Manager.

The Commission’s 15-month period of oversight proved both fruitful and unpopular. However, it will be remembered, at least in the short term, as the remedy to many of East Providence’s ills.

The politicians, administrators and residents of the city, despite protestations to the contrary by some, are the beneficiaries of the Commission’s effort. East Providence is in a far better place in March of 2013 as opposed to where it was when the state overseers took charge in December of 2011.

The Commission, metaphorically, rid the city of failing fruit, tilled and nurtured the soil, then replanted the seeds for success.

The hope is that those decisions and policies take root, that East Providence springs  forward and blossoms into the municipality we believe is possible.

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.