January 2020 | Issue 12
Member Highlight
Councilwoman Katherine Kerwin
Ward 12
Councilwoman Katherine Kerwin was elected to the City Council in 2018. She represents Ward 12 which includes the majority of the Smith Hill neighborhood, downtown, and parts of the East Side, Elmhurst, and Valley.

Councilwoman Kerwin is a Providence native, growing up in Ward 3 and attending La Salle Academy. Councilwoman Kerwin studied Political Science and Geography at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she was also a political organizer advocating for student speech and opposing campus carry legislation.

Councilwoman Kerwin returned home to Providence after finishing school to accept a position as the Director of Communications for the Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence. 


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Looking Back & Moving Forward

In the first month of the New Year, the City of Providence spent time honoring the City's past, addressing present problems that the City faces, and moving forward to create a better City in the future. Councilors remembered the honorable work of Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Jr., and said goodbye to a long time Council member. They engaged with constituents throughout the diverse neighborhoods of the City to ensure current, everyday needs are met. And finally, they worked to support the future of our City; the children and students of Providence. The City Council is looking forward to a prosperous, and exciting 2020!
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A New Year's Message from Council President Matos
Dear neighbor,

I want to take this opportunity to wish you and your families the very best in the New Year.

Our neighbors are the pinnacle of hard work, compassion, and goodwill. My City Council Colleagues and I are grateful and honored to serve you every single day.

As we gather with our families and friends to usher in this new decade, let us also come together as a community. We’ve grown a lot these past 10 years, but there’s still work to be done.

We are entering 2020 with some familiar challenges- lack of affordable housing, our struggling school system, episodic violence- but also with new opportunities to make real progress in these areas.

I am confident that with your continued diligence and passion, we will confront these challenges head on and make the progress needed to move our city ahead.

I look forward to the opportunities that lay ahead of us in 2020.

Happy New Year!
 
Sabina Matos, President
Providence City Council
Councilwoman – Ward 15
Farewell to Councilman Seth Yurdin
On Jaunary 2, Councilman Seth Yurdin announced his decision to step down from his role as Councilor for Ward 1 to further pursue his professional endeavors in the legal feild.

Councilman Yurdin has been serving the constituents of Ward 1 since 2006. In that time he as been a strong advocate for the environment, social justice and the development of Providence's Fox Point and Downtown neighborhoods.

Throughout the years, he served as Council Majority Leader, Chairman of the Ordinances Committee and as a member of the State and Legislative Affairs Committee.

The Providence City Council sincerely thanks Councilman Yurdin for his many years of service to the City and wishes him the best of luck in his future endeavors.
Honoring Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Junior
Minister's Alliance Scholarship Breakfast
Council President Matos, Council President Pro Tempore Correia, Majority Leader Ryan, Councilwoman Castillo, Councilman Espinal, Councilman Salvatore, Councilwoman Anthony and Councilwoman LaFortune were at the Ministers Alliance Martin Luther King Scholarship Breakfast on the morning of Martin Luther King Day to celebrate this year's scholarship awardees.
Happy Friday's MLK Day of Service
Council President Matos and Councilman Salvatore joined Representative Marcia Ranglin-Vassell and the Hungry Friday team for their annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service event.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. State Holiday Commission Event
On January 20, Council President Matos, Council President Pro Tempore Correia, Councilwoman Castillo and Councilman Espinal were at Ebenezer Baptist Church along with Governor Gina Raimondo, Senator Jack Reed, Congressman Jim Langevin and many other elected officials to honor the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. with a beautiful ceremony.
2020 Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. Hall of Fame Awards
In the Council Chambers on January 30, Council President Matos, Council President Pro Tempore Correia, Councilwoman Miller, Councilman Taylor and Councilman Espinal joined Mayor Elorza and the Providence Human Relations Commission to celebrate the 2020 Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. Hall of Fame Inductees. Joe Wilson Jr., Representative Grace Diaz and Richard Hemphill were honored for their dedication to carrying on the legacy of Dr. King.
Connecting with Constituents
Mt Pleasant Traffic Calming Forums
Council Majority Leader Ryan held a series of traffic calming forums in the Mt. Pleasant neighborhood. These meetings served to update residents on proposed traffic redesign projects and allow for community input. Below is a video highlighting the constructive community discussions.
Full House at Councilman Espinal's First Community Meeting
It was a full house at Councilman Pedro Espinal’s first community meeting of 2020 at the Washington Park Community Center on January 8! Ward 10 residents filled the room to hear notable speakers such as Senator Metts, Senator Quezada, Representative Diaz, Councilwoman Anthony, Councilwoman Harris, Councilwoman Castillo, Councilwoman LaFortune and former Mayor Joe Paolino.
Council President Pro Tempore Correia's First Community Meeting of the Year
Community members filled Federal Hill Pizza for Council President Pro Tempore Correia's first community meeting of the year on January 20. Council President Matos and District Commander Lieutenant David Allen of the Providence Police Department also joined the conversation about improvements to the Manton and Mt. Pleasant neighborhoods.
Ward 12 Community Meeting
Councilwoman Katherine Kerwin gathered with members of the Smith Hill community at the Brooklyn Coffee and Tea Guest House to discuss issues relevant to the Ward 12 neighborhoods.
Appointments and Promotions
After the January 2 Council meeting, Council President Matos was joined by Council colleagues and the family and friends of Probate Court Judge John Martinelli and Clerk Paul Jabour, Esq. to swear the two men into another term in their respective roles.
Probate Court Judge John Martinelli
Clerk Paul Jabour, Esq.
Providence External Review Authority
On January 17, Council President Matos, Council President Pro Tempore Correia and Majority Leader Ryan were in the Council Chambers to swear in Elise Swearingen, Machiste Rankin and Susan DeRita to the Providence External Review Authority (PERA).
Providence Police Department Promotions
The Council Chambers was filled with members of the Providence Police Department along with Council President Matos, Council President Pro Tempore Correia, Councilman Narducci, Councilwoman Harris, Councilwoman Anthony, Councilman Espinal, Mayor Elorza and Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Nerhona for the Providence Police Department's promotion ceremony on January 14.
Supporting Providence Students
Generation Citizen
On January 10, Council President Matos and Central Falls Council President Maria Rivera led a panel discussion at the Rhode Island State House with over 200 students from Generation Citizen; an organization dedicated to providing all students with access to civics education.
Beat the Streets
Council President Matos and Council President Pro Tempore Correia met with middle school wrestlers from the Beat the Streets Providence Program on January 14. This program aims to keep middle school students engaged in after school sports and to encourage them to excel in both academics and athletics.
Rhode Island Latino Dollars for Scholars
Council President Matos, Councilwoman Castillo and Councilman Pedro Espinal joined Rhode Island Latino Dollars for Scholars (LADO) on January 16 to celebrate this year's talented scholarship awardees.
Celebrating the Joslin Wolf Pack
On January 23, Council President Matos and Council President Pro Tempore Correia were at Joslin Rec Center to celebrate the Joslin Wolf Pack, who all received new Joslin sweatshirts.
Annual Meeting Street Telethon
Council President Matos, Council President Pro Tempore Correia and Councilman Taylor joined Mayor Elorza and Rhode Island State Treasurer Seth Magaziner on the evening of January 25 for the Annual Meeting St Telethon . This event raises money for the Meeting St. School which provides individualized attention and education for children of all ages and abilities.
City Legislation
City's New
Capital Improvement Plan
On January 9, Council President Matos, Council President Pro Tempore Correia, Councilman Narducci, Councilman Igliozzi and Councilman Espinal joined Mayor Elorza for the signing of the City's new five year capital improvement plan. This CIP will focus on making significant improvements to City streets, sidewalks and recreation centers, along with other important infrastructure investments.
Continued Work on
Hawkins Street Bridge
Councilman Narducci has remained engaged with the Hawkins St Bridges Restoration Project. This month, the demolition phase began and the City hopes to move forward with restoring this bridge and reconnecting the North End neighborhood.
Councilman Espinal Urges City to Reconsider
Port of Providence Development
At the January 16 City Council meeting, Councilman Espinal proposed a resolution requesting the review of the redevelopment plans for the Port of Providence. This area and the surrounding Lower South Providence and Washington Park neighborhoods are subject to great environmental and public health hazards in the event that redevelopment is not approached in a careful and conscious manor. The resolution was co-sponsored by the full Council.
Councilman Salvatore Introduces Resolution Calling for
School Spending Transparency
Councilman David Salvatore proposed a resolution at the January 16 Council meeting requesting that the Providence School Department, in conjunction with Mayor Elorza's office, produce a monthly report that is accessible to City officials as well as parents, teachers and students. This report will detail how Council approved school funds are spent and will encourage transparency in school spending.
PVD Great Streets Initiative
On January 28, Councilwoman Rachel Miller joined Mayor Elorza and community members discuss the 2020 Providence Great Streets Initiative. The plans are aimed at making Providence a safe and accessible city for pedestrians and bikers.
Cultural Celebrations
Juan Pablo Duarte Flower Offering
On January 26, Council President Matos, Council President and Pro Tempore Correia joined Councilwoman Castillo in her neighborhood at Roger Williams park for the Juan Pablo Duarte Flower Offering Ceremony. Juan Pablo Duarte is considered the father of Dominican independence and is honored by Dominicans throughout the world; including the City of Providence, where there is a large Dominican community!
The Lunar New Year
This year the Lunar New Year, also known as the Chinese New Year or Spring Festival, began on January 25. This marks the beginning of a new year on the traditional Chinese calendar, and celebrations continue for two weeks. The Council wishes a happy New Year to all of our neighbors who celebrate!
In the News
Council Discusses Nightlife Safety with Providence
Night Club Owners
A productive discussion was facilitated at the January 9 Special Committee on Public safety Meeting; where Council committee member heard the opinions of local club owners regarding upcoming ordinances that will be proposed in an effort improve nightlife safety in the City of Providence.
Councilors Speak out in Support of Ban on Housing Discrimination
 Based on Income Source
As the City of Providence and the State of Rhode Island move forward in their efforts to expand affordable housing, Councilwoman Miller, Councilman Espinal and Council President Matos were among the group of advocates who gathered on January 13 in support of an ordinance that would ban housing discrimination on the basis of source of income. This will allow people who collect alternative incomes such as Social Security to have access to more affordable housing options.
Upcoming Meetings, Public Hearings and Special Events
Upcoming City Council Meetings

Thursday, February 6
7:00 PM

Monday, February 10
6:00 PM
Mayor Jorge Elorza's
State of the City Address

Thursday, February 20
Council Meeting as a Whole
5:00 PM

Thursday, February 20
7:00 PM

Upcoming Community Meetings

Ward 15 Community Meeting
Tuesday, February, 11
Webster Avenue School
6:30 PM

Ward 8 Community Meeting
Thursday, February 13
The Potter's House (Last Door)
6:00 PM

Ward 11 Community Meeting
Tuesday, February 18
Community Preparatory School
135 Prairie Avenue
6:00 PM

Ward 3 Community Meeting
Wednesday, February 19
Hope High School
6:00 PM


Upcoming Special Events
Black History Month Exhibit Opening and Celebration
Tuesday, February 12
Guided Exhibit Tours Begin at 5:00 PM - Third Floor Gallery
Program Begins at 6:00 PM - Second Floor Gallery

Return of the City's Founding Documents
Tuesday, February 18
5:30 PM
Third Floor Gallery

Black History Month Exhibit
Pillars on Race: The Story of Race in Providence from 1935 to Today
Tuesday, February 12 - Friday, April 10
Third Floor Gallery - City Hall
Mon. - Friday
8:30 AM - 4:30 PM
(To arrange a class or group tour, please call the City Archives at:
401-680-5314 or by email at Cthorton@providenceri.gov )

Open Meetings Portal
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©Providence City Council 2019