January 2, 2024
Today officially marks the first complete year of the Smiley Administration. Since taking office last January, the Smiley Administration has prioritized creating improvements to city services, public safety, housing and climate resiliency that have had tangible impacts on the quality-of-life of residents.
“I am incredibly proud of the progress we’ve made in year one and am confident that we are on the path towards making Providence the world-class city we know it can be,” said Mayor Brett P. Smiley. “In the years ahead, my Administration will continue to build on this work, prioritizing the quality-of-life issues that matter most to our residents. I want to thank our many partners that have played instrumental parts in some of these milestones and I especially want to thank the many city workers and department directors who have worked hard to realize these changes for our residents.”
Enhancing public safety has remained a top priority for residents and local businesses. At the start of this year, following a community-driven public search process, Mayor Smiley appointed Chief Oscar Perez, the first Latino Providence Police Chief in Providence’s history. Chief Perez’s guidance has been instrumental in tackling key issues, like removing 161 ATVs and 295 guns from Providence streets. At the start of the Administration, Mayor Smiley also appointed Chief Derek Silva who serves as Providence’s first Fire Chief in the last eight years. Chief Silva has championed initiatives to modernize the department and implement innovative programs to support our most vulnerable residents, like the EMS Bike Program.
Upon entering office, Mayor Smiley knew that negotiating a better payment in lieu of taxes agreement with Providence’s colleges and universities was critically important to putting the city on firmer financial ground. Following several months of negotiations, Mayor Smiley signed a historic $223 million PILOT agreement, more than doubling financial contributions and serving as a national model for agreements in communities across the country.
Mayor Smiley believes investing in and improving city infrastructure is one of the ways we can build a better Providence. That’s why over the last year, the City has allocated $13 million in parks and made 570 repairs to sidewalks in neighborhoods across the city. The Smiley Administration also partnered with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation Executive (LISC) to administer over $1.1 million in infrastructure improvement grants. Through these grants, 24 local home-based and center-based childcare providers were able to make improvements to their spaces and in some cases allowed them to welcome more children. The Administration has invested $3 million in improving and repairing the city’s hurricane barriers to ensure Providence is protected from storm surges. This is part of the Administration’s larger efforts to invest in green infrastructure, improve stormwater management and make Providence more climate resilient.
While Providence has been disproportionately impacted by Rhode Island’s housing crisis, the Smiley Administration has responded with a multi-pronged approach to support immediate needs and make it easier to develop affordable housing within the city. Providence is one of the first communities in Rhode Island to adopt new zoning ordinances that streamline the development process; this Administration has allocated $29 million to the Affordable Housing Trust; the City has invested $4.3 million in ARPA funding for emergency shelter beds and other emergency housing solutions. Through this year’s City Budget, Mayor Smiley invested in critical provider and housing programs like Amos House’s A Hand Up program and is set to invest another $1.7 million in emergency housing supports in the next year.