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Spotlight on the Statehouse: Sept. 24, 2015

Stuck at home plate, for now

The proposal to build a new stadium for the Pawtucket Red Sox baseball team on I-195 land in Providence is officially dead. “This particular parcel of land had a series of challenges that we weren’t going to get through, and it was time to move on,” Gov. Gina Raimondo told ABC 6 News Sept. 21. Earlier this month, the deal appeared very unlikely, given the University’s higher-than-expected $15 million price tag for 2.19 acres that would have been part of the parcel on which the stadium was to be built, The Herald reported Sept. 9.

The failed deal means that the team may leave the Ocean State. Larry Luchino, one of the team’s managing partners, does not intend to keep the team in Pawtucket, Turn to 10 reported Sept. 21. The team’s owners also considered relocating to a site in central Providence, but that land has since been sold to the Lifespan hospital network, ABC 6 reported Sept. 11.

Chairman of the Stop the Stadium Deal group Sam Bell turned in a petition with over 1,500 signatures to City Council, the Providence Journal reported Sept. 21. The petition urged City Council to put an ordinance preventing the I-195 land from being used for a stadium, as well as any taxpayer dollars from being used for commercial subsidies up for vote by referendum.

Jeffrey Dana, the city solicitor, sent a memorandum Tuesday explaining that the Home Rule Charter of Providence “expressly provides that the power of initiative excludes ordinances related to budget, capital programs, the appropriate of money or the levy of taxes,” WPRI reported Sept. 22.

Roger Williams to combat R.I. brain drain

In hopes of helping the Ocean State retain more students after they graduate from college, Roger Williams University is planning to open a $10 million campus in Providence, in the same building formerly occupied by 38 Studios, which went bankrupt in 2012. The school is also modifying its curriculum to require students to collaborate with local businesses, Rhode Island Public Radio reported Sept. 21.

The facility — expected to open this spring — will double the school’s footprint in Providence, and is expected to house classrooms, a bookstore and a cafe, WPRI reported last year. The school, which has its main campus in Bristol, is implementing the requirement for students to work with local businesses this year.

“We start with our feet not on the campus, but in the community looking back at the campus and saying ‘What is it the community needs from us?’” said President of Roger Williams Donald Farish, Rhode Island Public Radio reported.

Fourth grant received to help immigrants preparing for citizenship

Progreso Latino, a non-profit community organization based in Central Falls, R.I., was recently awarded a $250,000 grant from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to expand the organization’s programs that help lawful residents prepare for full citizenship.

The organization is one of 40 in the country to receive this grant. Since the program was launched in 2009, Progreso Latino has been awarded the grant four times — in 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2015, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ website. The 2009 and 2011 awards of $100,000 and $200,000, respectively, are smaller sums than the $250,000 awards of 2013 and 2015.

In addition to providing citizenship preparation services — which the grant will help support — Progreso Latino also offers an adult education program, health and wellness resources, a small business program and a food pantry, according to its website.


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