Providence Strikes a Deal With Johnson & Wales University

A major win for Providence and its current budget woes.  Mayor Taveras has made a deal with Johnson and Wales that will bring the capital city one million dollars a year. The figure is 3 times more than the university currently pays the city.

This is good news, it means we're heading in the right direction. The deal makes Johnson and Wales the first tax-exempt institution to step up and assist Providence with its finances since the mayor called on them for their help.

Mayor Taveras was all smiles as he announced a deal made with Johnson and Wales that will bring the capital city roughly one million dollars this year, tripling the contribution the university makes now.

Mayor Taveras said, “This is a commitment to the City of Providence and it means a lot to me personally. It means a lot to me as mayor, it should mean a lot to the City of Providence because Johnson and Wales is choosing to stay here in Providence and to invest our city and to invest in our future during a very difficult time.”

Here's the deal; Johnson and Wales wants to expand their campus and have agreed on purchasing two parcels of the 195 land, where the old 195 highway was. Instead of paying taxes on that land, they'll pay 6.4 million dollars over the next ten years. Including a possible five million more if they buy a third parcel.

Chancellor John Bowen says Johnson and Wales wants to lead the way for the other colleges and universities.

At the announcement on Wednesday, Chancellor Bowen said, “we believe in community leadership, we believe in community service, and to have to do that you have to lead by example.”

Chancellor Bowen says a Physician Assistants program may be the future for the new purchased land. Mayor Taveras talked about the jobs the expansion of the university will bring. But before looking towards that, the Mayor says he needs more help, starting with Brown University.

Mayor Taveras met with Brown's President this afternoon. He said, “let me just say that we had a very positive meeting with president Ruth Simmons today and I would just say to you that I'm confident that we are going to be able to resolve the issues with Brown.”

Brown released a statement to ABC6 today saying, “The strength and success of Brown and Providence are intertwined, and the scenarios we are discussing with the Mayor seek to position Brown as a long-term partner with the city and state for the benefit of Providence, RI and Brown. Discussions are going well and we are confident that they will lead to a constructive, fair and equitable outcome.”