Grow Smart Rhode Island
Smart Growth e-Briefs
  News and Tools for People Shaping Our Communities February 2004  

This Month

Latest rehab plan is further proof of new demand for intown living

Grow Smart honored with housing award

Affordable housing moratorium bill stalls in Assembly

Will RI's new fire safety law impede revitalization efforts?

Smart Growth strategies good for construction jobs

Smart Stuff

Statewide preservation conference to focus on schools


Provocative radio interviews

Does your group need website help?

Grow Smart Board of Directors

Michael F. Ryan
Chairman of the Board

Susan Arnold
William Baldwin
S. James Busam
Joseph Caffey
Robert L. Carothers
Arnold Chace
Jen Cookke
Trudy Coxe
Peter Damon
Louise Durfee
Stephen J. Farrell
Thomas E. Freeman
J. Joseph Garrahy
John R. Gowell, Jr.
Stephen Hamblett
Robert Harding
Michael S. Hudner
Stanley J. Kanter
Howard M. Kilguss
Thomas A. Lawson
Dennis Langley
James Leach
Frederick Lippitt
Roger Mandle
Rev. James C. Miller
George Nee
B. Michael Rauh, Jr.
Gary Sasse
Richard Schartner
Deming Sherman
Merrill Sherman
Curt Spalding
James F. Twaddell
Sandra Whitehouse
Frederick C. Williamson
W. Edward Wood

Board Listing with Affiliation (pdf)


Scott Wolf
Executive Director

Sheila Brush
Director of Programs

John Flaherty
Director of Research & Communications

Lynn Burns
Office Manager / Executive Assistant

Dorothy Dauray
Office Assistant

Linsey Cameron
Research Assistant

About Us

Grow Smart Rhode Island is a statewide public policy group representing a broad coalition of partners fighting sprawl and promoting innovative policies and programs to revitalize city and town centers, preserve cultural and natural resources and expand economic opportunity throughout Rhode Island.

If you Appreciate our Work....

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Smart Growth

   Dear John,

You're among the 1,769 opinion leaders, state & local officials, development professionals, journalists and visionary citizens getting the latest news, happenings and trends in the smart growth movement from Grow Smart Rhode Island.

  • Latest rehab plan is further proof of new demand for intown living
  •    "There is a nationwide phenomenon in which people of means are flocking back to city centers, and Providence is benefitting from that." said project partner Anthony J. Thomas, Jr.

    It's called The Promenade at the Foundry and it will feature 220 luxury apartments with amenities from high speed internet access to media rooms, a business and fitness center and a 25-meter indoor swimming pool. The announcement comes as several other projects get underway in Providence, including The Jefferson at Providence Place, the conversion of a number of former commercial buildings into downcity lofts, a hotel/apartment/condominium complex at Waterplace Park and Capitol Cove, a residential project along the Moshasuck River.

    Scott Wolf, Grow Smart's executive director, says "This confirms that there's a strong market for more compact mixed-use living in Rhode Island", adding "We'll continue advocating for policy reforms that make it easier for more developers to provide housing and other services to people of all income levels in city, town and village centers throughout Rhode Island.

    -Read Projo article - 1/30/04
    -New Urban Neighborhoods make big gains throughout U.S.

  • Grow Smart honored with housing award

    Grow Smart was recognized last month for its contribution to helping ease Rhode Island's housing crisis in 2003. The 14th Annual Partners in Housing Awards were presented January 13th by Governor Carcieri on behalf of the Rhode Island Housing & Mortgage Finance Corporation.

    Grow Smart was singled out for its work in support of reforming the state Low & Moderate Income Housing Act and for providing training workshops to increase the capacity of municipalities to provide affordable housing for local residents. Among others receiving awards were six churches for opening their doors to the homeless last January; Donald G. Morash, owner of Abbott Properties; Neil Steinberg, Chairman & CEO of Fleet Bank; and former state Senator J. Clement Cicilline, President & CEO of the Newport County Mental Health Center.

    Read the Projo article - 1/14

  • Affordable housing moratorium bill stalls in Assembly
  •   The Rhode Island House and Senate agree that a temporary moratorium is needed to halt for-profit developers from the comprehensive permit application process so communities can prepare housing plans, but as of press time, the two bodies have been unable to resolve differences in whether the moratorium should be retroactive. Meanwhile, municipalities are growing increasingly frustrated as applications continue to be filed.

    Grow Smart has been an active participant on the task force charged with studying the controversial Low & Moderate Income Housing Act and has prepared its own position on how the law should be amended in order to balance the needs of all involved.

    Among the provisions in several of the moratorium bills is a mandate that each city and town develop a state-approved housing plan by January 2005. To that end, the RI Housing and Mortgage Finance Corporation has limited Targeted Assistance Grants (TAG) of up to $10,000 avaiable to assist municipalities in developing plans. For more information, contact Roseann Cronan at RI Housing (457-1146), or visit their website.

    -Read Grow Smart's position on affordable housing
    -See what quality affordable housing can look like

  • Will RI's new fire safety law impede revitalization efforts?

    The nation's most stringent fire safety laws take full effect in RI on February 20th. One man who knows how this might affect Rhode Island's 2002 Building Rehab Code is Tom Coffey, executive director of the RI Fire Safety Code Board of Appeals & Review, an attorney and a key participant in the original drafting of the Rehab Code.

    In a presentation to the Grow Smart Board of Directors, Tom explained the impact of the new fire safety laws, and assured historic preservation advocates and those involved in community revitalization that the new laws still provide sufficient flexibility. In particular, he noted that under the new system, existing buildings will still only be required to meet the structural standards for existing buildings, not new construction.

    Still, some redevelopment professionals aren't so sure. Grow Smart is therefore convening a meeting of key stakeholders this month to clarify any misunderstandings and to ensure that the Rehab Code remains viable. We will report back in next month's e-brief.


  • Smart Growth strategies good for construction jobs
  •    A new study by Good Jobs First (GJF) finds that, contrary to common belief, smart growth policies are good for construction jobs. The report provides evidence that smart growth can create more employment opportunities than sprawl for workers who build residential and commercial structures and transportation infrastructure.

    "Our findings challenge the conventional idea that construction employment suffers when communities seek to curb sprawl and manage growth," said Philip Mattera, GJF's Corporate Research Director and primary author of the study. "In fact, our research shows just the opposite, that smart growth fosters job growth."

    -Read more
    -Download the study (PDF)

  • Smart Stuff

    Each month Grow Smart highlights a sampling of policy developments or other creative smart growth initiatives being implemented around Rhode Island and beyond. Do you have a story to tell? (click here to share it with us)

    -Thames Street Landing wins national brownfields award
    -See project photos

    -Governor announces plan for brownfield site to become childrens community center
    -Mayor brings noted architect back to lead a series of planning charrettes

    -Legislators pass 17 smart growth items

  • Statewide preservation conference to focus on schools

    The 19th Annual Rhode Island Statewide Historic Preservation Conference, scheduled for April 24th in Bristol, will examine the future of historic school buildings throughout Rhode Island. As buildings age and school populations expand, many Rhode Island communities are taking a close look at their school buildings. Attend the conference to learn more about the history of school design in Rhode Island, examine the architectural solutions for re-using old school buildings and discuss community planning for schools.

    2004 Call for Nominations Each year, the Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission presents State Historic Preservation Awards to honor individuals, organizations and projects for their outstanding contributions to the preservation of our state's historic resources. Award categories include Advocacy, Artisanship, Education, Planning, Preservation Project, and Stewardship, as well as the Antoinette F. Downing Volunteer Service Award and the Frederick C. Williamson Professional Leadership Award. The nomination deadline is February 12, 2004.

    -Nominate an individual or organization
    -Read more about the conference

  •    Saturday, February 7 (9:00a - 4:30p)
    New England Grassroots Environment Fund Seminars
    Building & Maintaining Your Group (AM)
    Big Money for Small Groups (PM)
    Email or call (802)223-4622

    Thursday, February 12 (8:30a - 4:00p)
    Building with Trees Seminar
    The National Arbor Day Foundation in cooperation with The National Association of Home Builders is sponsoring a one-day seminar to benefit anyone involved in planning, building or designing residential or commercial structures.
    Worcester, MA

    Saturday, February 14 (11:00a - 12:00p)
    Providence Walkable-Bikeable Audit
    The Sierra Cluband Bike Downtown/Groundwork Providence are partnering to raise awareness about biking and walking issues.

    February 26, March 4, 11
    Making Good Land Use Decisions
    Municipal training workshop for officials in Middletown, Portsmouth, Tiverton and Little Compton. sponsored by Grow Smart.
    Note: Officials who have attended training in the past and want to attend a make-up session can do so free of charge. If space permits, new registrants from other communities will also be welcome. Download registration form

    March 3-11
    Connecting and Completing Downcity: A Design Charette
    The City of Providence, the Providence Foundation and Cornish Associates are sponsoring a series of design charettes with nationally acclaimed New Urban architect Andres Duany. For more information, email Francis Scire or call him at 401.421.0254.

    Saturday March 13 (1:00p - 3:00p)
    Preservation & Affordable Housing:
    Preserve Rhode Island presents a panel discussion with: Clark Schoettle, PPS Revolving Fund; Sheila Brush, Grow Smart Rhode Island; and Anne Berman, RI Housing & Mortgage Finance Corporation. Tour to follow. 109 Melrose St.

    Saturday March 20 (9:00a - 4:00p)
    RI Land & Water Conservation Summit:
    Sponsored by the RI Land Trust Council, the RI Rivers Council and the RI Association of Conservation Commissions. Learn about preserving land, developing boards or protecting your drinking water, as you choose from 21 different mini-workshops at this special one-day conference. Keynote speaker Gus Seelig shares the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board's successes with investing in land conservation and affordable housing.
    North Kingstown

    Submit a "March/April Event" for next month's e-brief by clicking here

  • Provocative radio interviews available at YOUR convenience

    Smart City is a weekly, hour-long public radio talk show that takes an in-depth look at how we live, the people, places, ideas and trends shaping our communities. Host Carol Coletta talks with national and international public policy experts, elected officials, economists, business leaders, artists, developers, planners and others for a penetrating discussion of planning issues.

    This week: Redeveloping a City Hank Baker is senior vice president of marketing for Forest City Stapleton, the development company that is transforming the former Stapleton Airport in Denver into a new community. During his 22 years in real estate development, Hank has been responsible for the acquisition, design, development and management of nearly $750 million in urban real estate projects. From 1986 to 1992, Hank was in charge of Forest City's San Francisco office and, more recently, spent three years as Vice President of Marketing for a division of the Irvine Company, owner of the 90,000-acre master planned Irvine Ranch in Southern California.

    Click here to listen now


  • Does your group need to enhance its website presence?

    The Verizon-Bryant College Telecommunications Center is a non-profit 501 (c)(3) innovative academic-business partnership funded by Verizon and the Northern Rhode Island Business Education Alliance. The primary purpose of the Center is to provide a community outreach component for both Verizon and Bryant College by offering education and services to individuals, nonprofits and businesses about website design and various software applications.

    Aside from a free one-hour consultation, their staff of talented students can provide services in the areas of web site design, content management software training, e-commerce solutions and database modeling - all at a fraction of the market cost.

    -Click here to learn more
    -Email your question to the program's managing director


    Grow Smart Rhode Island
    345 South Main Street
    Providence RI 02903

    phone: 401-273-5711

    Grow Smart Rhode Island · 345 South Main Street · Providence · RI · 02876

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