City Council Appoints 5 New Members to Repairs Commission, Calls for Action Against Sale of Illegal Fireworks, Approves $5.5 Million in Funding for Neighborhood

June 2, 2022

PRESS RELEASE

Contact:

Parker Gavigan, Director of Communications

[email protected]

Reparations Commission

Providence, RI – At tonight’s city council meeting, councilors named five new members to the Providence Municipal Repair Commission. In 2022, Mayor Jorge Elorza formed the commission by executive order to provide recommendations on policies, programs, and projects to help redress the harm done to Black, Indigenous, and people of color in Providence. $10 million of US bailout funds have been allocated for this work. The commission consists of 13 members, seven of whom are appointed by the mayor and six by the city council. New appointees include Kyle Bennet, Dewayne Hackney, Cristian Potter, Michael Costa and Phyllis Evans. The city council previously nominated Dwayne Keys. “These individuals, all of whom are deeply committed to our community, will bring their life experiences to the commission and help shape thoughtful ideas that the city can then implement,” said Councilor and Deputy Majority Leader Mary Kay. Harris (Ward 11). “Council took a thorough approach in selecting these commission members, and I thank them for serving the city,” said council chair John Igliozzi. “This is vitally important, and I look forward to the commission building such present generational trust, and that future residents of Providence can access and use these funds.” To learn more about the commission, click here.

Illegal sale of fireworks

At tonight’s city council meeting, Councilwoman Jo-Ann Ryan (Ward 5) moved a resolution calling on the Rhode Island State Department of Business Regulation to take enforcement action against any business selling illegal aerial fireworks. “Neighborhoods in Providence have been terrorized by the illegal use of fireworks for several summers. That’s why, in early summer 2020, I brought together a group of city stakeholders to discuss this nuisance to quality of life and identified three main areas that needed to be addressed: public education on what is legal and what is not; enforcement of licenses for businesses that illegally sell fireworks; and a coordinated effort by public safety officials to focus on hotspots or problem areas. Through the diligent efforts of the Fireworks Task Force, over the past few years the city has been able to significantly reduce the use of illegal fireworks that disrupted and endangered our neighborhoods,” Ryan said. “I look forward to building on this progress as we head into another summer, and I thank our local law enforcement and firefighters for their daily work to maintain the quality of life and public safety of our community. I now call on DBR to follow our lead and do what it can to alleviate another element of this problem; the illegal sale of fireworks,” Ryan said. In Rhode Island, fireworks and ground sparklers are legal, but aerial fireworks and anything that explodes are not permitted without a permit. There are businesses throughout the state and in the city of Providence that currently offer illegal fireworks for sale to the public. The Department of Business Regulation has the power to take enforcement action against any business entity selling illegal fireworks. To report illegal fireworks use in Providence or file a complaint, call the police department’s non-emergency line (401) 272-3121 or use its online reporting system.

Community Development Block Grants

Councilors passed for the second and final time $5.5 million in Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), federal funds that will have an immediate impact on neighborhoods in Providence. CDBG funding includes substantial support for community centers like Federal Hill House and provides grants for economic development and public service programs throughout the city. Many public service grants help with unemployment, homelessness, public health, clothing insecurity, music education, and domestic violence/emergency housing resources. Some recipients include established providers like Amos House, Clinica Esperanza/Hope Clinic, and Rhode Island Free Clinic. A breakdown of CDBG funds can be found here.

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