Proposed RIC expansion has N. Prov. residents on edge

By: Rebecca Turco

Email: rturco@abc6.com

NORTH PROVIDENCE, R.I. – A proposed expansion to a parking lot at Rhode Island College has some residents in nearby North Providence on edge.

They’re worried what will happen to their neighborhood if RIC expands its Sheffield Avenue parking lot and opens the college gates in the process.

"To me, there are too many issues to consider: the safety of our elderly, children and pets, and vandalism and theft," said resident Jennifer Zaroogian, addressing town councilors at a meeting Tuesday night.

Increased traffic is one of their biggest worries. "It is a cut through between Fruit Hill and Smith Street,” Don Rhodes told ABC6 News. “So there’s a speed issue, there’s a litter issue."

Councilors echoed their concerns, passing three motions: to send a letter stating their opposition to the college’s proposal to open three gates, to set up a meeting between the council and the RIC vice president, and to instruct the town’s legal council to draft a North Providence version of Providence’s resolution.

Meanwhile, Mayor Charles Lombardi is not a huge fun of the expansion, but says he wants to keep the lines of communication open. "The college has been a great neighbor of ours in the town of North Providence,” he explained. “We want to work along with them but as long as it doesn’t…disrupt any peacefulness in the neighborhood."

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