Providence’s Federal Hill has an international reputation for fine dining and foodie retailing. It is a year-round feast celebrating not just Rhode Island’s Italian-American cuisine and culture, but those from subsequent waves of immigration.
Two recent violent incidents there, including one in which a man was beaten to death, however, have the potential to do damage beyond the human tragedy.
To many, the core of the problem is the addition in the last few years of nightclubs to the collection of fine-dining and retail establishments. They bring with them a rowdier crowd, often resulting in altercations that spill into the street, much like similar establishments have afflicted the Downcity and Knowledge District neighborhoods for years. Many also see the proliferation of hookah bars as bringing a similar volatile mix to the district.
In addition, the neighborhood has allowed itself to become dirty and inhospitable.
It won’t take long for negative experiences to pile up and for folks to look for somewhere else to go and spend their discretionary dollars. In fact, as reported in a story last week in The Providence Journal, a wine-tasting event scheduled to take place this month on Atwells Avenue was canceled, citing the recent problems.
What should be done?
Well, first, adjust the neighborhood’s zoning to push nightclubs and the like out. Move closing times earlier (do bars really need to be open until 2 a.m.?). And form the equivalent of the Downtown Improvement District to spruce the place up (or just hire the DID to do what it does down the hill).
Being a destination is not a given. It’s earned with every visitor’s experience. •
Join PBN for the best networking event and party of the winter - January 15, 2015 - the Book of Lists Party at the Providence Public Library. Reserve your spot by December 31st and get a holiday gift from PBN!
PBN's annual Book of Lists has been an essential resource for the local business community for almost 30 years. The Book of Lists features a wealth of company rankings from a variety of fields and industries, including banking, health care, real estate, law, hospitality, education, not-for-profits, technology and many more.