Providence Revolving Fund executive director to retire

CLARK SCHOETTLE, the longtime leader of the Providence Revolving Fund, will retire in June. / PBN PHOTO/ MICHAEL SALERNO
CLARK SCHOETTLE, the longtime leader of the Providence Revolving Fund, will retire in June. / PBN FILE PHOTO/ MICHAEL SALERNO

PROVIDENCE – Clark Schoettle, the longtime leader of the Providence Revolving Fund, will retire in June, the organization announced Thursday.

Schoettle has served as executive director of the community development fund for 35 years. He joined in 1983 when the organization represented a small historic preservation loan fund. It’s now a $12 million community development fund, according to a news release, and deeply involved in both residential and commercial rehabilitation projects.

The fund also includes a significant investment from the Rhode Island Foundation.

Schoettle will retire pending the identification of new leadership. A search process is underway for a new executive director, with assistance from Butler & Associates. Selection of a new executive director is expected in the spring.

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In a statement, Schoettle said he couldn’t imagine doing anything else that would be as gratifying. “It has given me the opportunity to work with diverse groups of people to try different approaches and accomplish the historic preservation of difficult buildings to revitalize neighborhoods.”

Beginning in the 1980s, the Providence Revolving Fund started working with the West Broadway and Elmwood neighborhoods. It invested more than $14 million in the area, purchasing and redeveloping 63 abandoned houses for affordable housing.

More than 450 loans were made to private homeowners to restore homes in those neighborhoods, as well.

Schoettle negotiated with the Rhode Island Foundation to initiate a $7.8 million program, including a dedicated loan fund for buildings downtown. In the past 15 years, that fund has invested more than $16 million in 24 underused buildings, according to the organization.

Some of the buildings that have received loans or financing through the Providence Revolving Fund include the Empire Street and Mercantile Block buildings owned by the arts nonprofit AS220, the Providence G and the Dean Hotel and more recently, a renovation underway of the historic Kendrick-Prentice-Tirocchi House, also known as the ‘Wedding Cake’ house.

Mary MacDonald is a staff writer for the PBN. Contact her at macdonald@pbn.com.