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Looking back as we Move Forward: City Aspirations for the I-195 Land Redevelopment
Everyone agrees that the I-195 land is one of the City’s, and the State’s, greatest opportunities for growth and economic stimulation. Are we up for the task?
“Providence is so beautiful,” my sister-in-law Irene gushed as we sat down to lunch overlooking Waterplace Park at Jacky’s, one of Providence’s newest hotspots.
Like Irene, other newcomers to the city are usually entirely unaware of the city center’s horridly dull “before” landscape. As Irene and I walked along the riverfront  back to my car, I told her about the Capital Center Commission’s efforts 30 years ago to rebuild the city’s core. Their ambitious undertaking included unearthing the river that 150 years ago served as Providence’s hub.
In the late 1800’s the river’s peak at Salt Pond Cove, or “the Cove,” was a busy port for merchant trading and transportation. For those of you struggling to visualize the city as it was, picture tall ships docked where Smith Street is today.
The industrial age, for better or worse, transformed our city. The rise of railroads and manufacturing gave Providence the means to accessibility and profitability that had been previously reserved for open ocean ports like ... more

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