PC to Acquire Portions of Huxley Avenue, Other Streets under Agreement with City
Providence College will acquire portions of Huxley Avenue and two side streets near Alumni Hall under an agreement announced on December 18 by College President Rev. Brian J. Shanley, O.P. ’80 and the City of Providence.
“The immediate gains for PC will be a more unified and well-connected campus, and better safety and security for our students, faculty, and staff, all of which are of the utmost importance to the College,” Father Shanley said.
The agreement awaits the approval of the Providence City Council.
The portion of Huxley Avenue to be acquired — between Ventura Street and Eaton Street — bisects the PC campus. It separates the original campus, established in 1917, from the East Campus, the former Chapin Hospital property acquired by the College in the 1970s.
Since its acquisition, the East Campus has seen increased development, including new residence halls, a quad, and the Smith Center for the Arts, all resulting in increased pedestrian and vehicular traffic along Huxley Avenue.
Father Shanley said the acquisition will allow better oversight of the street by the College and permit a new entryway to be constructed. It also will complement the College’s plans to expand Schneider Arena, renovate Dore Hall as a future home for the PC School of Business, and relocate and develop new athletic fields, Father Shanley added.
“We now have the ability to totally transform the look and feel of this important approach and entrance to our campus and to make it more attractive and more secure as well,” Father Shanley said.
Changes near Alumni Hall
Near Alumni Hall, on the northwestern edge of campus, the College will acquire a portion of Wardlaw Avenue, from Lucille Street to Cumberland Street, and a portion of Cumberland Street, from Wardlaw Avenue to 30 Cumberland.
The acquisition will allow the College to better secure that portion of campus, expand parking, and improve its appearance to neighbors, Father Shanley said. No private homes will be affected by the purchase.
Father Shanley said the College will not make immediate changes to the streets. Vehicular and pedestrian traffic patterns and parking plans will be revised, and the College will gather feedback from students, faculty, staff, and neighborhood residents before making any changes.
“I am pleased to announce the purchase of these streets with an eye toward unifying our campus and making it a safer and more secure place for everyone,” Father Shanley said.
Under the agreement, PC will pay $3.8 million for the acquisitions — $1 million up front and $315,845 annually through 2021. No tuition dollars or funds set aside for financial aid will be used to make the payments, Father Shanley said.
The agreement does not alter the 20-year memorandum of understanding that the College signed with the city in 2003, Father Shanley said. Under that agreement, the College will continue to make annual payments to the city in lieu of property taxes. In fiscal 2012, the College paid approximately $264,000.
Father Shanley said the College proposed the purchase of the streets in response to the city’s request for additional payments from its largest tax-exempt medical and educational institutions, including PC, Brown University, Johnson & Wales University, and the Rhode Island School of Design.
“Having seen the city’s willingness to structure these agreements on a quid pro quo basis and knowing that they were hopeful of striking some type of arrangement with all of the major non-profit institutions in Providence, the College felt this was the appropriate time to seek the purchase of these streets,” Father Shanley said.
“I am pleased that the College’s partnership with the City of Providence is further strengthened by this agreement, and I look forward to a continued relationship of mutual respect and cooperation with Mayor (Angel) Taveras and his administration.”
"Providence College is an important pillar of our community," said Mayor Taveras. "I am pleased that Father Shanley and the entire PC community have stepped up to share in the sacrifice many have made to position Providence for the future.
"The City of Providence is stronger because of PC. Providence College students, alumni, faculty and staff make valuable contributions to our creative capital and our economy. By being a part of the long-term solution to put Providence on strong fiscal ground, PC is helping to secure their own future and improve the futures of the thousands of Providence residents their students, faculty and alumni serve," he said.
— Vicki-Ann Downing
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