Legislation to spur tourism and economic development in the City

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                        

July 7, 2021                                                                                        

CONTACT INFO. :                                   

Office of the Mayor                           

Patricia Resende                                                                                             

(401) 529-3207                                                                                                          


Legislation to spur tourism and economic development in the City                  

EAST PROVIDENCE, RI – The City of East Providence will benefit from two major legislative initiatives that will spur economic development and create a new arts district in the City.

The City’s Administration, with support of the City Council and together with local organizations including the East Providence Area Chamber of Commerce and the East Providence Arts Council, advocated to unlock state funds (previously generated in the City of East Providence and held in escrow by the Rhode Island Division of Taxation) and to create the city’s first-ever arts district.

The City sought to put those state funds to work by joining the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council. The move made perfect sense since the City shares geographic boundaries and has many historic, cultural and economic connections.

The move was made possible thanks to legislation introduced by Representatives Gregg Amore, Katherine Kazarian, and Brianna Henries in the House and Senators Valarie Lawson and Cynthia Coyne in the Senate.

 “The passing of this legislation unlocks $400,000 to be utilized specifically for promoting tourism in East Providence,” Mayor Bob DaSilva said.

East Providence Area Chamber of Commerce President Laura McNamara, who advocated for the change, said the timing of inclusion into the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council is perfect especially with a second piece of legislation impacting the arts community.

A portion of East Providence has now been designated as the East Providence Arts District.

The new designation exempts writers, composers, and artists residing within a section of defined economic development zone within the city, from state personal income tax derived from their art.

The City identified an area of the city that historically had challenges with development and wanted to create an incentive for the creative community to choose to live, create and sell their artwork.

“Our creative community is on the rise and growth in this district we will help spur development of vacant buildings and underutilized properties,” Mayor DaSilva said

“The City’s development of the Arts and Entertainment District and focus on Watchemoket Square will greatly benefit from the resources and promotion that the Tourism Council has to offer,” McNamara said. “Historic properties such as the Looff Carousel, Hunt’s Mills, John Hunt House and others will also receive additional tourism-related attention.  

“I’d like to extend my deepest gratitude to Sen. Valarie Lawson and Rep. Brianna Henries for supporting the addition of Watchemoket Square in East Providence as an official arts district in alignment with existing Rhode Island law,” East Providence Arts Council Chair Jennifer Cahoon said. “This was done with incredible support from the East Providence Administration and our East Providence City Council.

“It will not only improve the quality of life here in East Providence, but it will also help boost our local economy and help artists who choose to work and live here,” Cahoon added.