Since those decorative lights were up, the streets are more attractive but also safer. [Providence Police district commander] Lieutenant San Lucas says there’s been less crime on Westminster Street and it’s just a better environment for everyone. That playground is for every single child, no matter their economic or ethnic background. [There is] the Fertile Underground Grocery, a local grocery in the neighborhood that we had the building built for and got a United Way grant to help make it a place that has a SNAP [Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program]. This is a place for everyone.
We had a rat-proof trash can program before the city had the big green cans. There were rats in the neighborhood and a neighbor approached us and said, “Hey . . . this is a problem. What do we do?” And section by section of the neighborhood, we got grant by grant, and distributed free, rat-proof trash cans to every household in the neighborhood. It didn’t matter who you were, you got a free rat-proof trash can.
So that’s what we’re trying to do here. It’s everything good about gentrification. I think the bad of gentrification seems to be displacement and everything. To the capacity we can, we have 1192 Westminster Street; it has an affordable office space and an affordable apartment. We rent it affordably to a low-income family. And so we try and support other CDCs [Community Development Corporations] that do low-income affordable housing. We want it to be a neighborhood for all incomes. We want everyone to have access. To learn more about the West Broadway Neighborhood Association, go to wbna.org or facebook.com/wbnapvd.