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Riverside Square Like Wickendon St.?

A new group, the Riverside Renaissance Committee, envisions that neighborhood of East Providence being cultivated into so much more.

Imagine Riverside Square with the charm of a Wickendon Street in Providence or as business strip like in downton Warren.

Ted Sheridan can. 

“I think the seeds are planted already,” said Sheridan, who lives on the water on Narragansett Avenue not too from Riverside Square. “If we just cultivate what we have already, I think it can blossom.”

Sheridan and his wife, Kathy, were introduced by City Councilor Tracy Capobianco at last week’s East Providence City Council meeting as the heads of a new citizens’ group, the Riverside Renaissance Committee.

It’s vision: Make the Riverside Square and the area surrounding it a sort of “pit stop” for people driving or biking through Riverside on the East Bay Bike Path. 

The committee is in its infancy. It has met only one time. Other meetings are being planned. 

“There wasn’t an intent to form a committee,” said Sheridan. “We just wanted to know what was happening with the property owned by the city near Riverside Square.” 

He was referring to the former Vamco property on Bullocks Point Avenue that has been boarded up and vacant for some time. It is being brought down.

“We started to see some activity and asked: What’s going on?” he said.

Sheridan and his wife contacted Capobianco and City Counclor Chrissy Rossi, both of Riverside. They decided to get together to talk about their common concerns. 

Soon, Rep. Greg Amore, who lives in Riverside, and David Bachrach, East Providence’s community development director, heard about the group. So did Eugene Saveory of Riverside, head of the Zoning Board. 

“We had a nice contingent of town officials,” said Sheridan. “And a good dozen concerned people also interested in finding out what is going on.” 

The dialogue at that meeting at the Sheridans’ house was extremely positive and enthusiastic, he said. There was an agreement that “Riverside is a wonderful place with a lot going for it.”

Sheridan mentioned the Crescent Park Carousel, Rose Larisa Park, and Sabin Point Park as examples. His primary focus right now, Riverside Square, “is a pocket of possibilities,” he said.

There is the old train depot, which houses a tanning salon now. It’s architecture remains mostly unchanged.

There is the Dari-Bee ice cream shop. And the Bullocks convenience store often referred to as “Buckets” that Sheridan sees as a possible coffee shop right on the corner of Bullocks Point Avenue and Lincoln Avenue.

First things first, though.

“We need to look at the resources that are out there,” he said. “Then we need to connect the dots and be as creative as we can be.”

“There is a lot going in that little stretch,” he said.

But it could use a renaissance.

Jane April 08, 2013 at 12:04 PM
Are RISD, Brown and PC moving to Riverside to feed these businesses? This area is mostly traveled by homeowners to and from work. Many businesses have opened and quickly closed or changed hands many times. It would be great to see this idea work, however, there just is not enough traffic to support greatness to this area.
Marge Hawley April 08, 2013 at 01:58 PM
There WOULD be more traffic if the roads were fixed & the storefronts revitalized. Right now, businesses can't make it because there is no parking, & it's rundown. Worse than 60 yrs. ago when I was a child. Potholes are everywhere & a general feeling of uncaring.
Elizabeth Medeiros April 08, 2013 at 02:55 PM
Thank you, Kathy and Ted, for starting this committee! If I have any ideas, I will contact you. Will there be a website for ideas? - Betty Ann Platt Medeiros
Dan April 09, 2013 at 03:31 PM
I think its a great idea to invest in Riverside Sq. Riverside has a lot going for it. If we don't act on it, it will deteriorate, and, neighborhood blight doesn't bode well for any area resident. Parking lots, traffic, and promotion can all be worked out, if we all pitch in and make it our own "pet project." After all, we are the ones who have the most to gain. Pawtuxet Village is not suffering by any means, and I see Riversde Sq. as the next Pawtuxet Village - so I'm in!!!
Kathleen sheridan April 11, 2013 at 12:48 AM
Hi everyone my email is ksheridan1@cox.net you can contact me and I will let people know when our next meeting is Kathy Sheridan
Richie Baptista April 12, 2013 at 04:01 PM
When I purchased a Home here the first thing I inquired about was Riverside Square and those horrific looking buildings and decay in the area. It shocked me how a Waterfront area with so much potential would allow this Gateway to happen . Junk cars halfway on sidewalk, strange grandfathered laws. This is a start but lets not have it take 5 years to rebound. Seek out those who helped turn around Pawtuxet Village / Wickendon and get a nice Coffee/ Sandwich Shop, Bakery/ Meat market/Fish Antique shops, etc..Something also to accomodate bikers. Seriously, one Restaurant in 5 miles? So much potential. Even the run down stores have posters/ graffitti all over them making them look worse. No laws to keep this beautiful. Loitering is getting worse.
Richie Baptista June 13, 2013 at 05:56 PM
Traffic? seriously it is two blocks long, I hardly think it is Route 6. The area is turning into a hangout. Lets get real

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