The ordinance and earlier passed resolution are a package of new agreements expected to provide more neighborhood input and environmental oversight, generate greater revenue for the city, and position ProvPort for expansion and growth into offshore wind energy.
Details of the agreement
• Master planning process - includes greater community input (minimum of 4 community meetings and a public hearing before the city council)
• Fossil fuels - no further expansion of fossil fuel usage by ProvPort (see amendment)
• Leases - ProvPort will provide the city council with a complete list of all active and new tenant leases (new leases and renewals will require compliance with all federal, state, and local environmental laws, proactive reporting of environmental violations, and reporting of all chemicals stored on the property)
• Sustainability Projects include air quality testing, environmental remediation, or projects to advance climate adaptation and mitigation infrastructure
Details of the lease extension and bond include:
• Upfront one-time payment to the city of approximately $7 million from bond proceeds
• Increases gross revenue sharing agreement from 5.5% to 9%
• Establishes a sustainability projects reserve account with a minimum of $120,000 a year to support projects throughout the city
• Establishes a community benefits reserve account with a minimum of $120,000 a year to support projects throughout the city
Statement from Council President Rachel Miller on ProvPort
“Late last year, the City Council heard from community groups concerned that the ProvPort negotiations were moving too quickly with minimal conversations happening with neighbors. The Council listened, paused, and re-engaged with the community and environmental advocates to come up with a better solution,” said Council President Rachel Miller (Ward 13). “This agreement is a strong one, and it will position the city to move toward supporting more sustainable green energy projects in the Port.”
Statement from Councilman Pedro Espinal on ProvPort
“This agreement is a significant victory for my constituents and neighbors living and working around the Port,” said Councilman Pedro Espinal (Ward 10). “My concern always centered around public health, safety, and the welfare of our residents. My council colleagues and ProvPort listened to the community, and this legislation is the direct result of working together.”
Department Directors and Board Chairs Approved
Councilors approved the following department directors and board chairs recommended by Mayor Brett Smiley:
Jonathan Martin – Director, Department of Public Property
Patricia Coyne-Fague – Director, Department of Public Works
Dylan Conley – Board of Licenses
Marcus Mitchell – Zoning Board of Review
Brendan Ryan – Zoning Board of Review
Steve Wilkinson – Building Board of Review
Council Approves Public Infrastructure Projects Funding
Councilors approved funding for several infrastructure improvements across the city. The Department of Public Works and the Department of Public Property will allocate the funding to construction vendors that have been approved by the Board of Contract and Supply. The approved projects are as follows:
• Agostini Construction Inc. will receive $32,603,700 from the Department of Public Property to complete renovations at Classical High School including a new security vestibule, media center, new classrooms, a nurse’s office, girl’s locker room and swing space.
• Shawmut Design & Construction will receive $11,187,125 from the Department of Public Property to complete renovations at Hope High School including a new auditorium, cupola and updates to the main lobby.
• R. Zoppo Corporation will receive $1,543,770 from the Department of Public Works to repair the slide gate of the Fox Point Hurricane Barrier.
Bus Boarding Islands on Broad Street
The Council approved a resolution calling for the review of bus boarding islands installed along Broad Street. Councilman Pedro Espinal (Ward 10) sponsored the legislation.
“While the original intent of these islands was to help RIPTA riders safely get on and off of buses, recently, they’ve become a public safety concern for pedestrians and drivers alike,” said Councilman Espinal. “That stretch of road is already congested, and the addition of the islands appears to create further obstacles.”
The legislation calls on the city’s Traffic Engineer to review all bus boarding islands along Broad Street with the Mayor and the Department of Public Works.
Special Committee on Environment and Resiliency
The council also approved the creation of “The Special Committee on Environment and Resiliency.” The group will provide legislative recommendations to the Council in all matters relating to the environmental and sustainability goals of the city. Councilor Sue AnderBois (Ward 3) sponsored the resolution.
“Climate change is a global issue with very real impacts on day-to-day life here in Providence,“ said Councilor AnderBois. “The City's Climate Justice Plan is a national model of engaging with the community - and it’s time that we as a collective body take bold action to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions across the city and mitigate negative health impacts across our most vulnerable neighborhoods.”
In total, the group will consist of 6 members. Five will be appointed by the Council, with one seat occupied by the Director of the Department of Sustainability or a designee, who will serve as a non-voting ex-officio member.