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  • Amy Mendillo for Providence Monthly

Neighbors Call on the 195 Commission to Reconsider Plans for Parcel 2

“It’s not easy, I get it,” suggested Providence resident Leslie Gardner to the 195 Commission at a mid-January public meeting. As a seasoned leader at several large, local organizations, Gardner sympathized with the commissioners’ task: to evaluate three building proposals currently on the table for Parcel 2, the area of 195 land located between South Water and South Main streets. “This is a very important decision,” she continued. But Gardner—and other residents and neighborhood leaders who spoke at the meeting —did not hold back their objections to all three designs, saying the proposed six-story, mixed-use structures are too tall, too massive and wall-like, and as another neighbor stated, “forbidding in their character.”

Other residents who spoke at the meeting were critical of the three designs, as well. Almost all speakers expressed concerns that vehicular traffic and parking are problematic, even before the arrival of the new residents who would occupy the buildings. Some environmentally minded residents pleaded for fewer built-in parking spaces, hoping for a general shift toward more sustainable forms of transportation. Other residents urged the Commission to move in the opposite direction–by providing more space for the likely influx of residents with cars. Neighbors also pointed out the potential for flooding in the area. Still others noted the urgent need for affordable housing in Providence.

The Fox Point Neighborhood Association (FPNA) has since written a letter of position to the 195 Commission, its second since November, urging the organization to “go back to the drawing board” to develop designs that are more compatible with the neighborhood. The Commission is slated to make a decision in early February.


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