Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

The old Providence ethos of demolishing stuff ahead of aesthetic concerns or regulatory hurdles is alive and well. The West Broadway Neighborhood Association has the details:

Last Monday, 2/29, the West Broadway Neighborhood Association (WBNA) responded to complaints from neighbors of the Grove Street School that workers onsite claimed that the building was going to be demolished.  The WBNA sent out an email alert to all of its members and citywide contacts urging them to contact the Mayor.  In response to numerous phone calls and emails the City issued a Stop Work Order for the building and attached it to the front door of the school. 


Kari Lang, Executive Director of the WBNA, said that she was beginning a tour of the neighborhood with board members as part of the annual board retreat on Saturday, February 3rd.  “The tour came to an abrupt stop when a neighbor drove up and announced that the Grove Street School was being demolished.”  Board members immediately called the police, city officials and local news stations.  “Fortunately, we were nearby the school on our tour and were able to get there in advance of police.  We were stunned and dismayed to see the bulldozer was striking the building when we arrived.  We told the demolition contractor to stop and after several minutes they did so,” explained Lang.  Police, city officials and the Mayor arrived on the scene and confirmed that the contractor was doing work without a demolition permit and against the City’s Stop Work Order.  WBNA board members, staff, and other concerned neighbors remained at the school until the demolition crew left and 24-hour police detail set up post to ensure that no further destruction of the building took place . . . .


On Monday, February 05, the Rhode Island Superior Court issued an Order Granting The City’s Emergency Motion For Injunctive Relief which states that no further demolition or alteration may be made to the Grove Street School.  Additionally, the WBNA has been informed by city officials that they are looking at various actions to protect the building, including a Providence Redevelopment Agency meeting on Thursday, February 8th at 4pm at the Department of Planning and Development, 400 Westminster Street, 4th floor to hear plans for the acquisition of the Grove Street School from the current property owners. 

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