Losing That Old-Time New England Feel
Damien Baldino worries that Obama “stimulus” largesse may spell disaster for Providence’s character:
Once Barack Obama is sworn in as President of the United States, his first priority will be a stimulus package to help the economy. I’ve seen amounts ranging from $600 billion to $1.3 trillion, but the most common estimate seems to be around $800 billion. The money would be used to finance transportation projects, green energy projects, and rennovation/rebuilding schools. Massive amounts of money will be funneled to cities and states to complete infrastructure projects that are in the planning stages. …
I fear that the money would be used by the city to implement the ideas published in the DeJong study.
If you’re not familiar with the DeJong study, it is essentially a study championed by David Cicilline and Donnie Evans which addressed the condition of Providence’s educational facilities and how the system could be reconfigured and improved (link below). To summarize, the study had a strong bias toward rennovating historic schools and favored demolishing historic buildings and replacing them with new buildings that will probably be as awful as some of the City’s other new schools. Many of Providence’s schools are a mess, and they do need major rennovations, which I strongly support. What I oppose is demolishing historic buildings that could become functional and beautiful at a cost that is likely equal to, or below the cost of new construction.
I’m not very familiar with the personalities involved in Providence, but Rhode Islanders in general are a conservationist lot. Although, we also have a talent for extracting losses from win-win circumstances. (By which I most certainly do not mean to suggest that pouring taxpayer money into misguided “stimulus” packages — or politician-and-public-sector wish lists — is a win by any stretch.)