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By Rebecca Keister
PBN Staff Writer
PROVIDENCE – The R.I. Economic Development Corporation and Roger Williams University are teaming up for an urban revitalization program focused on small business support through student curriculum-based projects, Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee announced Thursday.
“By engaging our educational institutions, we can begin to more actively utilize the skills and expertise of the excellent educational institutions within Rhode Island and also tap into the bright minds of our students for the good of the state’s economy,” Chafee said in a statement.
Providence and Woonsocket will be pilot program cities for the RIEDC and Community Partnerships Center at Roger Williams University in Bristol.
In Providence, efforts will focus on Broad Street in the South Providence and Elmwood neighborhoods. In Woonsocket, the project will benefit the downtown area along Main Street.
Each project has three designated phases that will be completed by summer 2013.
Students will use classes in, among other subjects, Historic Preservation Planning, Small Business Institute, and a Historic Rehabilitation Workshop, to develop plans for revitalization vision, marketing, and business support.
Students, including business and graduate students, also will work directly with city programs in their business outreach efforts.
“Our small businesses are the backbone of our economy, providing jobs for residents, services and goods for the community, and quality of life to our neighborhoods,” said Providence Mayor Angel Taveras, in a statement. “This program – the first of its kind in Rhode Island – will give students hands-on learning experience while supporting the hard work of these small businesses.”