Providence, (R.I.) Journal, July 31
Providence's Federal Hill, a wonderful neighborhood long known as a center of great Italian-American food, culture and shopping, is one of the jewels of Rhode Island.
Celebrated in all the tourist guidebooks, it is a place that should attract families and fun-lovers as part of their Ocean State experience. Unfortunately, sporadic recent violence including the death of a 33-year-old Glocester man, beaten with a two-by-four in the parking lot behind The $3 Bar at 242 Atwells Ave. last week has cast a shadow over the Hill, and prompted business owners and community leaders to discuss what to do about it.
As reported by Staff Writer Mark Reynolds, the Federal Hill Commerce Association met Monday night at Costantinos Restaurant, where Mayor Angel Taveras joined them. The mayor's contention that nightclub-style establishments do not belong on the Hill won the group's applause. Meanwhile, Mark Gasbarro of Gasbarro's Wines revealed that a wine testing expected to bring 40 people to his store next month had been canceled because of in the words of an organizer "what's been happening up there." He warned that, "just from reading the police blotter," it appeared Federal Hill was moving away from its identity as a fine dining and shopping area.
Public Safety Commissioner Steven Paré laid a good deal of the trouble at the feet of the nightclubs, saying they must be held responsible for security. Other leaders touted earlier closing hours and limits on the number of licenses to close at 2 a.m.
No area can be 100 percent safe from the misdeeds of visitors, but it seems clear that Providence needs a better game plan for the safety and security of Federal Hill.
Certainly, the neighborhood's people want to help. The responsibility for leadership here ultimately rests with the mayor, a proven problem-solver who has been busy running for governor. It is in his interest, the city's and the state's that he get on top of this issue now.