downtown Providence

Ximena Conde / RIPR

If you’ve made your way to the outskirts of downtown Providence lately, you may have noticed thousands of sunflowers growing on empty plots of land by the riverfront. The pop-up garden is highlighted in this year’s “Design Week RI,” a series of events showcasing the state’s design sector. RIPR’s Ximena Conde visited the sunflowers, and found an exploration of nature in the urban landscape.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Cliff Wood recently took over as the head of the Providence Foundation. Wood previously served as director of the Downtown Providence Parks Conservancy. He stopped by our studio earlier this week to talk about the future of Kennedy Plaza.

RIPR File Photo

The Providence City Council’s Finance Committee approved a tax stabilization agreement Thursday for a new $56 million construction project in downtown Providence.

RIPR File Photo

Starting Monday, anyone taking Peter Pan or Greyhound buses will have to board in front of the Rhode Island Convention Center on Sabin Street.

The Providence City Council Ordinance Committee has voted to send a downtown smoking ban to the full council. The ordinance would prohibit smoking in a roughly nine-block area in front of Kennedy Plaza and City Hall.

Community advocates say the policy is targeted at the homeless. That’s because  they say previous bans on smoking in nearby park and bus terminals have pushed homeless onto the surrounding sidewalks.

Providence Police have identified 30-year-old Michelle Cagnon of Cumberland as the woman struck and killed by a bus in downtown Providence Wednesday morning. Cagnon was crossing the street at approximately 8:15 a.m. near Kennedy Plaza when she was hit by a Peter Pan bus.

A park ranger for the city witnessed the collision and called authorities to the scene, where Cagnon was later pronounced dead. 

closeact.com

This weekend the city of Providence puts on its second International Arts Festival, PVD Fest. The festival turns downtown Providence into one giant block party, featuring dozens of bands, dance, art installations and more.

RIPR FILE

  Advocates for the homeless say Providence Police unfairly target the homeless residents in downtown Providence. In a recent survey of 100 people milling around Kennedy Plaza in the heart of downtown Providence, about half were homeless or had experienced homelessness.

A survey of 100 people in Kennedy plaza found that roughly 95 percent of those who had experienced homelessness had also been ticketed or arrested by police.

John Bender

After months of street construction, new traffic patterns have been introduced in downtown Providence. Two major roads that used to be one direction only are now open for two-way traffic. The streets are Dorrance Street in front of the Biltmore Hotel and Exchange Terrace leading toward the Convention Center.

James Baumgartner / RIPR

The Providence City Council finance committee voted to approve a proposed downtown hotel Tuesday night. The project was proposed earlier this year, but movement on the issue was slow.

A local developer wants to build a nine-story hotel on the site of a now-vacant government building. The project was proposed this summer, but the city’s finance committee did not vote on it for several months. Local construction workers felt opposition by a hotel workers union seemed to be stalling the project.

Katherine Doherty

The din of trumpets, trombones, sousaphones, and bass drums rang out across the mouth of the Providence river on Monday as hundreds gathered for this year’s Pronk! festival. 

Lisa Williams / flickr

Downtown Providence might get a little noisy Monday as the Providence Honk Festival makes its annual parade through the city. The PRONK festival features a variety of marching bands and community groups. The groups will make their way from Kennedy Plaza to the mouth of Narragansett Bay.

The What Cheer? Brigade of Providence will be one of the bands taking part. Drummer Jori Ketten calls Pronk! an alternative street festival.

“A large part of the festival is about claiming the streets and spending time in the streets and reveling in the streets,” said Ketten.

John Bender / RIPR

There are a few less parking spaces in downtown Providence today. The city is taking part in the worldwide phenomenon known as Parking Day.

Parking Day is an event meant to promote awareness of the importance of parks and greenspace in cities.

Artists and designers have taken over dozens of parking spaces in the city, and transformed them into tiny parks. Most feature seating and greenery. Some offer ping pong, reading nooks, and even an outdoor café.

Organizer and landscape architect Jenn Judge says parks build community in urban areas.

The Providence Biltmore has completed a multi-million dollar renovation of its historic lobby and guest rooms, and other parts of the hotel.

Rhode Island Public Radio’s Scott MacKay said the 1922 hotel has a prominent place in Rhode Island political history, including several stays by John F. Kennedy.

The first Providence International Arts Festival, held last weekend, was such a success that Mayor Jorge Elorza is moving ahead with plans for another such celebration next year, said mayoral spokesman David Ortiz.

Thousands thronged a downtown transformed into a giant music stage and pedestrian arts mall last Saturday and Sunday. ``It met our expectations and we’re looking to grow it in the future,’’ said Ortiz.

The weather cooperated both days as the sun washed over downtown. ``We did get lucky,’’ acknowledged Ortiz.

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