Evening of Celebration In Providence, How To Fix City Is Theme

What was supposed to be an evening celebrating Providence and taking pride in the capital city turned into a brainstorming session about how to save the city from its massive money problems.     

The event at city hall was actually started four years ago to fight cynicism in the capital city. Organizers said that's even more important this year. Providence is set to run out of money by Summer. The theme was “ideas” on how to fix it. Performers at “I Heart Providence” danced around a suggestion box where people shared solutions for the city at a time when Providence could go bankrupt.

“Everywhere you go you see forms that say what's your big idea,” said organizer Mike Ritz. Big ideas are needed since Mayor Taveras announced, last week, Providence would go bankrupt by June if retirees, hospitals and colleges don't pitch in.    

Now, the mayor's staff says if they refuse, expect senior centers, libraries, and rec halls to close. “We talked about the city's ongoing financial difficulties over the last two years, but it's not like either of us is depressed that the city is going to completely collapse and be unlivable anytime soon,” said Providence resident Mike Moritz.

Organizer Mike Ritz started “I Heart Providence” four years ago as a way for folks to sample what's great about the capital city. Locals businesses set up shop, so people can get a sampling of what the city has to offer.     

Ritz admits this year the feeling there was different. “I do think maybe the tone has been a little bit more somber than usual,” said Ritz, “But people have to realize this is a great city, it has great assets. It's the capital of the state.”

“We couldn't find anyone who dropped an idea in the suggestion box. The people we talked to admit they're not really sure how to fix the financial problems.