Led by President Arthur Salisbury and Quality of Life Committee Chair Sharon Steele and supported by its members, the JDA has monitored Board of Licences, asked questions about procedures, testified against offending nightclub operations and campaigned for procedural reforms. At the same time, JDA member and Colosseum Nightclub proprietor Anthony Santurri has worked with the Downtown Improvement District Hospitality Resource Partnership to develop guidelines for Club Owners to help them operate successfully, safely and lawfully.
Salisbury, Steele and Santurri have met with city officials and lobbied the City Council. They have had talks with major stakeholders including Brown University, Johnson & Wales, the Federal Hill Commerce Association, the Providence Police Department and the 195 Commission seeking to encourage a thriving, law-abiding night-life scene in the Jewelry District as well as the City as a whole.
Other neighborhood associations have joined in the effort as well, in a rising tide of exasperation, frustration and — in some cases, fear — as clubs break the laws and the B. of L. has seemed incapable of applying consistent standards to maintaining order. With weekend nights erupting in brawls, near riots, stabbings and gunfire from the Jewelry District to Federal Hill, Washington Park to Olneyville, enough was enough. A meeting with Mayor Elorza, while cordial, produced no action. But, after the City Council-appointed subcommittee chaired by Councilwoman Jo-Ann Ryan held hearings about the B. of L. administration of the licensing process, things began to move ahead.
The launching of an independent inquiry into the operations of the Board of Licenses is the first step — an important one – in ensuring that the world-class reputation of Providence as a great place to work, live and visit is not wrecked by out of control bars and night clubs.
For more about this exciting development, read WPRI's report here.