Five Questions With Joseph Solomon

PBN PHOTO/MICHAEL SALERNO
PBN PHOTO/MICHAEL SALERNO

Joseph Solomon | Mayor, Warwick

1 You are a former city councilman who has taken the place of a longstanding mayor. How are you introducing yourself to the city? After 18 years on the City Council, four terms as council president and serving as municipal court chief judge, many residents are already aware of my fiscal conservatism and efforts to improve our environment and municipal services. As mayor, I am collaborating with residents to address important issues facing our community and providing leadership in decision-making.

2. Like other cities, Warwick has declining school enrollments. What pressure is that putting on your school system budget and how are you resolving it? The school committee and superintendent are charged with school operations, yet the administration and City Council are the funding source. I am committed to using the changing demographic trend as an opportunity to reinvent and reinvigorate our school system.

3. Basic services, including roads in poor condition, become a mayoral issue. What is your plan for improving them? I supported doubling the road-paving allocation and, if fiscally prudent, would increase this line item. To maximize miles of roadways paved, I’ll continue our partnership with utility companies to share the cost of paving the entire roadway when work is being conducted.

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4. City Centre Warwick, which your predecessor championed, is getting some traction. Can you provide us with an update on its status? [City Centre] is experiencing rapid growth, transitioning from a toxic, abandoned chemical site to a multimodal transit hub, resulting from increasing interest and demand. The tax-stabilization agreement I co-sponsored sparked development of the $24 million Hyatt Place Warwick hotel, offering a direct connection to air and rail. Other developments include the multimillion-dollar investment in the Fairfield Inn & Suites – Providence Airport and the $7.5 million sale of the Radisson Hotel property for reconstruction and new mixed-use development on the site.

5. What do you want to be your focus for the first 90 days? My primary focus is addressing the former mayor’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year. Priorities include building a strong economic climate to allow us to strengthen our schools, improve our infrastructure, neighborhood recreational facilities and the general aesthetic of our great city.