Lombardi, council commit to energized Marieville neighborhood group

Lombardi, council commit to energized Marieville neighborhood group

Marieville Neighborhood Partnership Secretary Beth Grossi shares how the group wants to become a model for the whole town. She was speaking at the May 7 Town Council meeting, where the group presented its plans for their neighborhood.
Mayor says he’s making progress on neighborhood spaces

NORTH PROVIDENCE – Town officials say the energy behind the fledgling Marieville Neighborhood Partnership is contagious and could make it a model for civic groups across town.

Members of the group, attending the May 7 Town Council meeting, presented their plans for their neighborhood, with the centerpiece being the requested purchase of a fenced-off and vacant National Grid property at 1 Charlotte St. and an abutting vacant building directly on Charles Street.

Members said they envision a neighborhood park on the National Grid property and neighborhood activities and meetings happening at the adjoining building, if acquired by the town.

Lombardi had met with members of the group in his office on May 3. At that meeting he called the owner of the building, Arthur Russo, right in front of the group and got a commitment from him that he won’t do anything with the building before first reaching out to the town.

“They’ve got some real energy,” said Lombardi. “I’m thankful that they want to help us make it a better neighborhood.”

The building was previously used by a neighborhood watch/police substation before being abandoned.

Council members, including District 2’s Ken Amoriggi and Stefano Famiglietti, who are part of the Marieville Neighborhood Partnership, gushed about the work of the group, thanking them for taking the initiative on improving their neighborhood.

“This is an excellent, excellent story for the town, and I commend all of you,” said Council President Dino Autiello.

District 2 School Committee member Chuck Pollock also attended the council meeting, emphasizing a desire to create a neighborhood safe space here for local children.
Famiglietti said the proposal is “exciting for a few reasons,” saying by working together residents are members of a family.

“I have no doubt that this will expand throughout the town,” he said.

Resident Megan Hall, spokeswoman for the group, thanked Lombardi for committing to the space not only in person but through his budget letter. She said group members want to work to get the property to “a place where it can be shared by the community.”

The property at 1 Charlotte St. is blighted and abandoned, she said, making it the top priority of many projects for the group.

“We think it could be an essential gathering place for children and other people in the neighborhood,” she said, showing council members an architectural rendering of what the space could be.

Lombardi said anyone coming to his office showing this kind of energy, “we’re going to do what we can to make sure this happens.”

Councilor Ron Baccala asked the mayor whether he’s moving the needle at all in his negotiations with National Grid on buying the property. Lombardi’s response drew a laugh from the whole chamber.

“The needle’s pushing that way, Ron, because they need permits to open up the roads daily in this town. So, no further comment.”

“Asked and answered,” responded Baccala, laughing.

Group member and Marieville resident Jennifer Morgan said that with the pending closure of Marieville Elementary School, the neighborhood will no longer have a food pantry. She said the building next to 1 Charlotte St. would be great for such a facility, serving as a hub for coat drives and food drives, as a meeting place, and as a storage facility for tools used in neighborhood cleanups. A cleanup day is planned for June 22, she said, and that building is the meeting spot.

Group Secretary Beth Grossi said she believes the group can be a “beacon for the whole town,” saying members “really want to be a pilot for everybody else in other neighborhoods.”

Mayor Charles Lombardi has a good laugh, with Meghan Hall and Chuck Pollock behind him, as he tells council members how he’s negotiating on the National Grid property at 1 Charlotte St.
Marieville resident Megan Hall thanks town officials for supporting the Marieville Neighborhood Partnership’s goals for 1 Charlotte St. and an abutting abandoned building during the May 7 Town Council meeting.
The building on Charles Street that Marieville residents would like to see become a sort of community center.