smart growth e-briefs
News and Tools For People Shaping Our Communities September 2008

Image of the Month
Projo photo / Steve Szydlowski
Recycling the Land
at Pontiac Mills
Warwick, RI

The 163-room NYLO Hotel opened on September 2, 2008 in the former Pontiac Mills complex in Warwick. The hotel was developed by an Atlanta, Ga., company that concentrates on business travelers who have an affinity for loft-style living popularized by the people who domesticated SoHo, TriBeCa, the meatpacking district and other formerly gritty New York neighborhoods.


Grow Smart welcomes

new staff member

Grow Smart is delighted to welcome Lauren Pendergast as Training Coordinator for the Grow Smart RI Land Use Training Collaborative. Lauren comes to GSRI with a breadth of experience gained at several agencies in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Her previous positions included Special Projects Coordinator for the Department of Environmental Protection and Communications Manager for the Office for Commonwealth Development. She has coordinated numerous workshops, conferences and other events throughout her career and is experienced in working with GIS and various other technologies. Lauren grew up in Warwick, where she and her husband now live, and holds a B.A. in English from the University of Rhode Island.

Grow Smart Rhode Island

Board of Directors

Deming E. Sherman

Chairman of the Board

Susan Arnold
William Baldwin
Rebecca G. Barnes
Samuel J. Bradner
Kenneth Burnett
Joseph Caffey
Robert L. Carothers
Jen Cookke
Trudy Coxe
Dennis DiPrete
Stephen Durkee
Stephen J. Farrell
John R. Gowell, Jr.
Akhil C. Gupta
Michael S. Hudner
Stanley J. Kanter
Howard M. Kilguss
Dennis Langley
James Leach
The Rev. James C. Miller
Thomas V. Moses
William M. Pratt
B. Michael Rauh, Jr.
Richard Schartner
Lucie G. Searle
Pamela M. Sherrill
John C. Simmons
Curt Spalding
James F. Twaddell

Directors Emeritus

Arnold "Buff" Chace

Louise Durfee, Esq.
J. Joseph Garrahy
Michael F. Ryan
Frederick C. Williamson
W. Edward Wood

Board Listing with Affiliation


Scott Wolf

Executive Director

Sheila Brush

Director of Programs

John Flaherty

Director of Research & Communications

Leslie Denomme

Executive Assistant for Finance

Dorothy Dauray

Office Assistant

Lauren Pendergast

Training Coordinator

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Dear John,

You're among the 3,675 civic 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.

  • Grow Smart, allies convene leaders last
       week to address RIPTA funding crisis
  • Among the participants were the Governor, Lt. Governor, Directors of Administration and Transportation, RIPTA Board and staff, labor leaders, stakeholder groups, major employers, developers and members of the Governor's Blue Ribbon Panel for Transportation Funding

    According to RIPTA Chairman John Rupp, if more money isn't committed to the authority "in the near future, we're going to run out and the buses will stop." Due mainly to the rising cost of fuel and a significant drop in gas tax revenue, RIPTA has gone from a balanced budget in March to projecting a $12 million deficit for next year.

    In order to avert severe service cuts that are now being contemplated - or even a stoppage - Grow Smart, in partnership with members of the New Public Transit Alliance (NuPTA) convened key civic, business and political leaders on Tuesday, September 23rd to get input on structuring mass transit funding in a way that allows it to grow with increased demand. The discussion was also seen by many as an important step to envisioning RIPTA's evolution into a robust, multi-modal mass transit system that can give Rhode Island a competitive advantage in the new economy while making significant and measurable improvements to air quality and greenhouse gas reductions.

    Feedback at the summit will be used to develop a set of short and long-term funding recommendations. A smaller working group will be assembled in October to vet those recommendations before being sent to the Governor and the General Assembly by 10.28.08.

    It is critical that a set of recommendations be agreed upon by the Administration and Legislature quickly in order to avert service cuts that will otherwise be unavoidable.

    Summit looks at RIPTA finances - Projo 9/24

  • Grow Smart releases policy briefing book
       to local candidates in upcoming election
  • Campaign tool provides research and policy recommendations to candidates about a broad set of strategies for restoring prosperity by capitalizing on Rhode Island's vast untapped potential

    Rhode Island is an outstanding, dynamic and distinctive place but it is looking weak and sliding into a defensive crouch these days. To accelerate constructive discussion and action on the many policy challenges and opportunities facing Rhode Island, Grow Smart has released its 2008 Candidates' Briefing Book, entitled, "A Blueprint for Sustainable Prosperity and Enhanced Quality of Place".

    The book's release is a non partisan effort to promote better understanding of growth and development issues and various strategies and best practices to tap Rhode Island's full economic, environmental and social potential.

    At its heart smart growth is about encouraging a pattern of development that prevents waste - waste of buildings and neighborhoods, of environmental resources, energy, tax dollars, of people's time and of people's individual and collective potential.

    [Read More]

  • Back by popular demand, innovative
       parking workshop slated for Nov. 7
  • Click here to see larger image

    Program aimed at strengthening the vitality and function of walkable urban, town and village centers through innovative parking solutions

    Tackling Your Community's Parking Challenges, the latest workshop developed for the Grow Smart RI Land-Use Training Collaborative, is being offered again following strong interest and positive feedback from those who participated in the July session. The 4-hour workshop, to be held in East Providence, will introduce attendees to new ways of thinking about parking issues, including the public and consumer cost of providing it.

    Nathan Kelly, AICP, of the Horsley Witten Group, and Jason Schrieber, AICP, of Nelson\Nygaard Consulting Associates will return to present zoning, design and management strategies that municipalities can use to balance public and business demands for parking with community goals for environmental protection and maintenance of community character.

    The discussion will range from the economics of providing parking to the fallacies inherent in the parking standards on which many communities rely to recent developments in materials and low-impact design. Using mini case studies from around the country, Nate and Jason will offered both time-tested and innovative solutions to parking challenges. Participants will apply what they learn in an interactive design exercise.

    The workshop is approved for 4 AICP CM credits.

    Click HERE to learn more or register.

  • Our donors help advance the
       smart growth agenda in Rhode Island
  • 1st and 2nd quarter 2008 donors help Grow Smart sustain an aggressive statewide movement for better planned development and quality place- making at the state and local level

    Grow Smart acknowledges and thanks the many individuals and organizations who provided us with generous financial support during the first two quarters of 2008 (January-June). Tax deductible donations to Grow Smart are what sustain our work - and are now needed more than ever in these very challenging economic times.


    Edgar George Adams
    Samuel F. Babbitt
    Daniel A. Baudouin
    Noel Berg
    Paul Boghossian (Paul & Mary Boghossian Memorial Fund)
    David Brown
    Nicholas Brown
    Harvey Buford
    Nicholas & Julia Califano
    Brenda Clement
    Marilyn F. Cohen
    Suzanne Cohn
    Alice W. Conkey
    Anne & Peter S. Damon
    Merlin & Sandra Deconti, Jr.
    Stanley G. Dimock
    Dr. & Mrs. Robert Ducoff
    Rosalie Fain (The Norman & Rosalie Fain Fund)
    Mr. & Mrs. Fred J. Franklin
    Alan S. & Renee L. Flink
    Sally & Stephen Fortlouis
    Anna C. Gizzarelli
    Jay & Elizabeth Gowell
    Lindsay Green
    Barry & Kathleen Hittner
    Virginia K. Innis
    Kevin Kelley
    Howard M. Kilguss
    Beatrice D. Krakoff
    Anne Berkelhammer Krause
    Marie Langlois
    Stephen & Diana Lewinstein
    Connie McGreavy
    Walter McLaughlin
    Marcia S. Riesman
    Clayton A. Rockefeller
    Hinda Semonoff
    Pamela Morey Sherrill
    Chester & Theresa Smolski *
    Dennis E. Stark & Robert Amarantes
    Muriel P. Stevens
    Theodore G. Trafton
    James F. Twaddell
    Kate Waterman
    Myrth York (Otto H. York Foundation)

    * Sadly, Chester Smolski, a longtime Professor of Urban Studies and loyal Grow Smart supporter, passed away June 22nd. Click HERE to read about Chet's many contributions to Rhode Island.


    A4 Architecture & Planning
    Adler Pollock & Sheehan P.C.
    American Institute of Architects
    The Aspen Group
    Belvoir Properties, Inc.
    E. W. Burman, Inc.
    DiPrete Engineering Assoc. Inc.
    The Foundry Associates, LP
    Gates, Leighton & Associates, Inc.
    The Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce
    Moses & Afonso LTD.
    Nadeau Corporation
    Nation Wide Construction
    NeighborWorks Blackstone RiverValley
    Nortek, Inc.
    Northern Waterfront Associates, LP (Brian O'Neill)
    O'Hearne Associates
    One Financial Center Plaza, LLC (Aram Garabedian)
    The Pawtucket Foundation
    Peregrine Group LLC
    PM Industries, Inc.
    Property Advisory Group
    United Healthcare

    Foundations / Grants

    Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor Commission
    Coalition for Water Security (The ECRI Education Fund)
    Stephen A & Diana L Goldberg Foundation
    The Haffenreffer Family Fund
    The Rhode Island Foundation
    Rhode Island Division of Planning / Statewide Planning Program
    The Washington Trust Company

    Power of Place Summit Sponsors

    Audubon Society of RI
    B & H Shipping Company
    Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor Commission
    Brown University
    Dimeo Properties, Inc.
    Durkee Brown Viveiros Werenfels
    Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge LLP
    F.H. French Co Inc.
    National Grid
    Northern RI Chamber of Commerce
    City of Pawtucket
    PRESERVE Rhode Island
    The Providence Foundation
    Rhode Island Association of Realtors
    The Rhode Island Builders Association
    Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management / Narragansett Bay Research Reserve
    Rhode Island Division of Planning / Statewide Planning Program
    Rhode Island Department of Health
    Rhode Island Housing

  • Sustainable development conference
       to be held in Newport Oct. 15-17
  • The first annual Sustainable Development & Restoration Summit will focus on the future of historic cities and the processes that are stimulating new business, greater energy efficiency, stronger community.

    Presented by Source Newport, conference organizers promise thought-provoking sessions with planning, architecture, finance, construction, and real estate investment leaders as they share solutions and explore new paths to sustainable development and the key role played by restoration and America's historic cities.

    A roster of speakers from a variety of disciplines, including Grow Smart Executive Director Scott Wolf, will share the most current information in managing and coordinating the new urban environment around historic property: colonial to 1950s contemporary. Participants will hear how development with "green" awareness and restoration are working side-by-side to grow unrivaled financial opportunities and retain the historic elements that make communities unique.

    Click HERE for more information.

  • Sharp rise in U.S. shopping center
       vacancies fails to slow new construction
  • The number of shuttered box stores and empty strip malls has expanded over the last nine months, according to NewRules.org and data compiled by commercial real estate brokers and investment advisors.

    Chain retailers have announced plans to close more than 6,500 outlets by year's end, even as shopping center construction continues to expand. Developers are on track to bring an estimated 137 million square feet of new retail space online this year. That's more than the average annual growth during the first half of the decade.

    "I would avoid ... anything related to commercial construction," advised Michael Larson, associate editor of Safe Money Report and an early predictor of the mortgage crisis.

    [Read More]

  • CALENDAR Highlights:

  • Click here to let us know if you would like your land-use/water resources related conference or workshop listed on our CommunityConnectionRI Calendar.

    Friday, October 3, 2008 (9:00 - 12 Noon)

    Can Vis Workshop. CanVis is a Visual Simulation Tool for Resource Planning. Learn how to better communicate planning alternatives to local stakeholders by creating computer-generated simulations or visualizations that help folks "see" the potential impacts of development alternatives. There is no cost for this workshop. And the software is free and easy to use.
    RI Dept. of Administration

    Thursday, October 9, 2008 (6:30- 8:30p)

    Protecting Special Places Workshop: Saving Farms (part of a series). Presented by the John H. Chafee Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor.
    River Bend Farm
    Uxbridge, MA

    October 15-18, 2008

    Civic Tourism II - Creating and Marketing Your Somewhere. Sponsored by Blackstone Valley Tourism Council
    Blackstone Valley Visitor Center

  • 'Growth & Development' in the news
  • Send us Your News. We want to know what's happening in your community.

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    Farming couple says Community Supported Agriculture works for them

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    South Kingstown



    Editor's Note: While Grow Smart frequently provides links to others' resources and data when we believe such information contributes to a better understanding of smart growth, this should not be considered an endorsement of an organization, its positions, political opinions or beliefs.

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