Commission plans hanging baskets in Centredale

Commission plans hanging baskets in Centredale

Members of the North Providence Environmental Commission met on Monday with developer Shane Piche, center, about planned beautification efforts in Centredale. (Breeze photo by Ethan Shorey)

NORTH PROVIDENCE – A local board with a tiny budget but a commitment to making Centredale a more beautiful place is making plans to take some early steps in the initiative.

The North Providence Environmental Commission, which had admittedly stagnated a bit in its mission over time, said members, is on its way back, working closely with Centredale business owners on transforming the landscape.

At Monday’s meeting, the commission hosted Centredale developer Shane Piche, a member of the town’s Planning Board, to get his feedback and offer him help in organizing beautification efforts. At the top of the list to accomplish right away, with help from the Department of Public Works and local high school students, is to buy new hanging flower baskets to place on existing decorative lampposts in the village. New member Ruth Bucci estimates the initial buy will need to cover baskets for about 25 lampposts.

Bucci said she met with several business owners, including Geoffrey Greene, of Robbins Funeral Home, and Anthony Costanzo, of Rhode Island Billiard, Bar & Bistro, who both loved the idea of adding hanging baskets.

Members discussed various details, from drilling new holes in the posts to hang the baskets to how to establish a watering program.

Piche cautioned members not to “go crazy” before the town implements more comprehensive plans for a redesigned Centredale road network.

“The biggest problem we have is the traffic flow,” he said.

He said a request for proposals is now out for a traffic engineer, but encouraged members to take simple steps in the interim.

The latest discussions by town officials include turning the one-way streets of Centredale into two-ways, Piche said, creating better flow and attracting businesses that have been scared off by the current configuration. On-street parking spots lost on the Town Hall side of Smith Street due to planned changes would be gained in new parking around the Centredale bypass and elsewhere, said Piche.

The Centredale roundabout is also up for changes, as it wasn’t configured correctly in the first place, he added.

Piche is developing two businesses right at the roundabout, one a traditional French-style café and one an eatery/watering hole with a tentative name of Centredale Revival.

The Environmental Commission has an annual beautification budget of $3,000, with about $2,400 remaining in it, but members said Monday they plan to advocate for significantly more money in the next budget. They’re taking an active role in planning for use of a $160,000 Rhode Island Commerce streetscape grant obtained for Centredale last year.

In addition to the hanging baskets this spring, modeled after a similar successful beautification effort in Central Falls, commission members plan to also add plantings to the center area of the roundabout. Member Faye Amsden, the town’s tree warden, noted that there’s a three-year improvement plan for the area, so temporary improvements are fine.