Of course you don’t.  That’s because it’s gone.  What is it that is gone?

The “Opening 2008” sign at the Division Street Hotel

What was suppose to be

Yep, the City has exercised it’s right to reclaim the property from Division Street Hotel LLC (DSH).  The first order of business after the City Council approved the action was for Mayor Doyle to file an affidavit .  This affidavit basically sets out the time line and title to the property reverted back to the City upon the filing.  The second order of business was to take down the embarrassing sign.  Having driven by on Saturday, it was indeed gone.

This does not mean this is the end of the matter.  The attorney for the developer, Carpionato Properties, indicated back in June of 2009 when he addressed the City Council that his client would exercise all of his legal rights.  (There is a $1.6 million figure floating about that the developer indicates he has put into the property.)

The Council at it’s September 9th meeting recognized two issues of concern.  One was the lost of tax revenue now that the property has reverted back to the City.  The other, was the possible long drawn out legal battle that could ensue.  Both seem to be short term negatives offset by the long term positive gain to the City.

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The City Council has arranged for a Taxpayer Information Session to be held on September 2nd starting at 6pm.  The session will be held at Varieur School, 486 Pleasant St, Pawtucket, RI.

Vision Appraisal, who conducted the recent revaluation, will explain the state mandated revaluation process.  Officials from the City’s Tax Assessor’s Office will be available at the forum to advise and assist individuals wishing to submit an appeal.  According to the official notice found on the City’s Website officials from the City’s Tax Collector’s Office will also be on hand to explain tax payment methods, including a newly created 10-month Hardship Payment Plan.

This is a tremendous opportunity for Pawtucket taxpayers to get solid information regarding the revaluation process, the appeal process, and tax payment methods.  Additionally,  you’ll be able to ask and learn exactly why the tax rate appears to have increased so dramatically.

Your City Council has heard the concerns and has established this forum to explain the situation.  Come to the meeting, get the straight answers.

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I’ve been getting some early info on ROCKTUCKET – the Main Street block party on Sunday, Sept. 6, 4 – 11 pm. (No worries. That’s Labor Day weekend, so it’s not a ’school nite’.) There’s more I don’t know than I do, so you’ll just have to wait for more details to roll in.

Main Street will be blocked off, but from where to where I don’t know. Several bands are signed up to play, schedule below. Rain location is the Armory.

Other fun includes Roller Races in the basement of the Grant, 4- 8pm. My intel is that this will use the roller devices from Woolly Fair, but this is pure speculation.

ROCKTUCKET is a bike-forward event, which you know I luuuuurve. First off, there’s a group ride from Providence, which is wikkit smaat, ‘cuz othawise ya get lawst. Nowuddofalie. And when you pedal up to the site, they’ll have valets to park your bike. How cool is that? In addition, there’s a mobile repair clinic. You can ride up with a creaky old rust bucket, and speed away on greased lighting. (Warning: Hyperbole. Not actually true.) Seriously, they’ll get your bike TIGHT.

Also under the bike category, Circuit BMX is hosting their Foot-Down World Championship and a Bunny Hop competition. That little shop has mega-buzz, so I expect the competition to be top-flight. Better get your practice on, little bikey types. Circuit pulled out. :-(

Prolly the biggest deal in this big deal is the presence of Make magazine, the technology innovation magazine and sponsor of Maker Faire, a celebration of invention, self-sufficiency and the de-mystification of technology. Make is using ROCKTUCKET to launch their Rhode Island chapter. Throughout September, they have events and workshops planned here in Pawtucket as well as in Providence. Brian Jepson of Providence Geeks fame, is a big time Maker dude, but I’m not sure how deeply involved he is in this endeavor. Clearly, the Maker movement in this area is inordinately strong. As they say in my trade, we over-index heavily.

Of course, there will be a selection of food and bev – Kafe Lila is right on the strip, Village Restaurant a block below that, plus other vendors like Tina’s Caribbean, Mice Slice, Trinity Brewhouse, Narragansett Beer and Harpoon Brewery. Plus something called Hewtin’s Dogs by Chez Pascal (that fancy French place at the top of Hope St). Haute cuisine hot dogs? Um……..k.

Galleries will be going, too. Machines with Magnets is hosting Schwa Design’s Schwalteregos, and Flying Shuttles presents POP: Art Inspired by Music.

Line Up

4:00 – Girl Haggard (ironical sh1t-kickers w/ 401 Local’s John Hunter on drums)

4:45 – Wrong Reasons

5:45 – Chachi (soulful rap w/ highly musical music)

6:45 – Strange Famous Records showcase w/ B. Dolan and Sage Francis

7:45 – Big Digits (nerdy rappers from Boston)

8:30 – Javelin

9:15 – Sensitive Hearts

10:00 – Chinese Stars (edgy post-pop)

Thereafter – DJ dance party

That’s all I know for sure right now. Check back for more info as the date approaches. (Please any other info you have to speck22 AT gmail DOT com.)

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If you didn’t see J’s comment (that sounds familiar…), tonight’s City Council meeting (7pm, City Hall) will include a public hearing on the issue of returning the “200″ block of Main Street to 2-way traffic. There is evidence that some of the brighter minds in town will lobby for a larger, more inclusive assessment of the overall downtown traffic situation. Clearly, this section of Main Street is part of a complex traffic pattern that, if not FUBAR, is certainly SNAFU.

I must say that I am all optimism at this point. I have asserted for years that the almost maniacal complexity of Pawtucket roads is our #1 problem. Our reputation as the Getting Lost Capital of the Universe is very, very real, and represents a near-universal barrier to visitors. If visitors could simply trust that they could come to Pawtucket, reach their destination and leave again without getting lost, that would be a game-changer for retail businesses.

Public Hearing not Public Meeting

As with the Rosa’s liquor license kerfuffle, this is a Public Hearing at the City Council, not a more free-form public meeting. You need to arrive at least 30 minutes early (6:30pm) to sign up to say something.

Also, according to the agenda (PDF download, natch), simultaneous public hearings will also cover:

  • Zoning issues associated with the historic district, MBRD district, and use regulation
  • Pet services

So go figure.

A Plea for the Least (Motorized) of Us

Lastly, I’d just like to go on the record as saying that traffic does not equal cars. Traffic is everything that moves, like pedestrians and bicycles. I recently wrote the essay Complex, Adaptive NYC about the way three levels of traffic in New York mesh seamlessly in a highly anarchic but also highly efficient manner.

For basic economic reasons, less-affluent communities like Pawtucket tend to have higher-than-average numbers of bicycles and pedestrians. Yet our infrastructure is designed almost exclusively for cars. I’ve been blogging about this topic from the earliest days.

Please, if you’re going to speak, include something to the effect that all kinds of travelers should be taken into account, not just those in cars.

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If you didn’t see J’s comment from two posts back, highchair designhaus is hosting an events calendar of their own creation. It’s called Live Pawtucket, and the brand name seems to play the ambiguity between “live” as in “I live in Pawtucket” and “live” as in “live, on stage”. Fully built out, it will pull in RSS feeds and automatically populate the map. Until then, send them your events manually. Click the “Contact” link upper right, or email them an event.

So how is that “New on The Bucket Blog”? It’s in the (fairly) newly gussied up blogroll section. See? Right there in the Pawtucket Resources section?

What’s really new (like, five minutes ago) is the collection of customize Google Maps, including the one of downtown historic buildings that J made. You’ll also note there’s now a “Downtown Circulator Explained” map that I’ve just started. I tried several attempts at a single, holistic explanation, but that’s simply beyond me. Instead, I’ve plotted specific routes through the Circulator. I started with some of the more challenging or common. Read the directions. Truly, this makes the head swim.

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Over the past year or so, this blog has occasionally generated warnings from people’s anti-malware systems. These annoying “iframes” hacks have been seriously problematic. Fortunately, I upgraded Wordpress today and, as I was going through the various folders, I found the specific files that had been hacked. They have all been deleted. A simple password change, and we should be good to go.

Apologies to any and all for the inconveniences. Hopefully, this will be the end of it.

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This is a really quick update to let you know about two significant additions to the Pawtucket Now community wiki:

First, we have a Neighborhood Map. There’s a screen-grab on the Neighborhood Page, but the live map is on Google Maps. Use the Discussion tab on the wiki page to dispute the boundaries. There already is a challenge to the definition of Pleasant View, so have at. We’ll get it worked out in time.

Also, we have a map of Councilmanic Districts. Again, screen-grab on the City Council page and the live map on Google. Not a lot of dispute here, but I think it’s significant. I’ve been asking about that map since, oh, early 2006.

I’ve said it before – we’re going to have to do all of this ourselves. The city either cannot or will not do these kinds of things, and I’m sick of asking. We could be done if we’d started in 2006.

Lastly, I point you to the Getting Around page which is becoming a section. This may be my great gift to the city of Pawtucket – a truly usable guide to travel in The Getting Lost Capital of the Universe. There’s now a Travel by Car page (incomplete but on its way) and a whole page devoted to Main Street (also still in the works).

(Note to the City: when you need a whole wiki page plus an annotated Google Map to explain Main Street, perhaps there’s some re-thinking that needs to happen.)

Nuff said.

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There will be a special session of the Pawtucket City Council tonight at 7pm at City Hall. The agenda includes a public hearing on amendments to the city’s operating budget. Read the agenda on the Pawtucket Now wiki.

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One of these reviews has been rolling around in my head for some time. And the other is rolling around in my belly right now.

Rosinha’s

When you go to Rosinha’s for dinner – not if, when – give yourself plenty of time. Really good food takes time to prepare and it takes time to enjoy. The problem was that we remembered just after we ordered that we had an obligation. It’s terrible to try to rush through a meal of well-prepared food.

Rosinha’s is upscale – as upscale as the Madhouse. At some point, I’ll write up my economic development analysis that contrasts those two restaurants. For our purposes, suffice it to say that it’s nice to dress nice every now and again. The elegant atmosphere isn’t overly snobby. Just nice. I did see several high-ranking municipal employees at the bar. Can you blame them? It’s a nice place.

I ordered my favorite Cape Verdean dish of shrimp in garlic sauce. It was superb. My companion ordered the salmon with tropical fruit which was also superb. My experiences with this cuisine is that it is overly salted. But not the case here. Both dishes were wonderfully balanced, the tropical fruit in particular were distinct and sweet. As they say on the Twitter: nomnomnom.

My only quibble was with the wine list. I’m not a fan of sweet wines like vinho verde of which several varieties were offered. I would have liked to have seen more varieties of ‘traditional’ blends. The Pinot Noir was Australian as I recall and quite good. But it was one of just a handful of non-vinho verde wines available by the glass.

When that’s the criticism, you know you’ve got something you can work with.

PS. I left my credit card in our rush to get out the door. Weeks later when I attended an event at Rosinha’s our waiter immediately recognized me and returned the cards. So the service couldn’t be better.

Rosinha’s, 999 Main Street

Rosa’s Kitchen

After the liquor license kerfuffle, I HAD to go check out Rosa’s. It is exactly as described: a cute, simple family place with a big menu served all day. We ordered off the dinner menu at 1:30 in the afternoon. We could also have ordered breakfast.

I enjoyed – you guessed it – camarao (shrimp) in garlic sauce on pasta and my companion had chicken portabello. While not fancy like Rosinha’s, these were full dinners of massive proportion. I can eat quite well, thank you, but could only work through half my plate. The same went for my companion. At $8 – 10, this is a tremendous bargain.

Rosa’s simple hearty fare and solid value should do quite well in this city of changing demography. They had steady traffic at tables and take out. And it was the “dead” period between 2 and 4.

I saw some lovely chilled bottles of Becks beer in the cooler, but went for the ginger ale. My drinking day doesn’t start until 4 under normal circumstances.

As a side note, I didn’t see any drug dealers. I think it’s the $1.50 breakfast (2 eggs, toast, homefries) that attracts the teenagers. Based on my work with youth and youth groups, I’d say it’s entirely possible that that breakfast special is the one and only good meal a day that some of these kids are getting.

Rosa’s Kitchen, 757 Main Street

LATE EDIT: Rosa’s is now officially my new favorite place. Now that I’m hanging around the place a bit, I see why people like the WNA would look at the activity and think there’s lots of gangster-drug-dealer-whatnot. And I’m thoroughly convinced that they are DEAD WRONG.

For example, a youth-type person was waiting on take-out, of which there’s quite a lot. He got a phone call. Out of courtesy, he went outside where he paced up and down. He was still on the phone when he came in to get the order. Not courteous, but he was in deep doo-doo and needed to keep talking. Was he arranging a big drugs deal? No. He was backing-and-filling like a pro because his girlfriend’s girlfriend told his girlfriend that she saw another girl coming out of his apartment.

Apparently, young people spend a lot of time talking about and engaging in their social life. Who knew?

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Who: You
What: Attend a political meeting
When: 5 – 6:30 pm
Where: New Commons, 545 Pawtucket Ave, #106A (Google Map)
Why: Because you want to make Pawtucket a better place…
How: …through technology, volunteerism and elected office

Agenda

Introductions – Who are we?
Inventory of Capabilities – What can we do?
Organizing Principles – How should we structure the political movement?
Initial Priorities – What needs to happen now?
Next Step – How shall we proceed?

A Little About the Pawtucket Now Political Movement

The Pawtucket Now political movement is a non-partisan, grassroots movement dedicated to bringing rapid improvement to Pawtucket through direct citizen involvment in:

  • technology that builds community assets and does community work (like this wiki)
  • volunteerism in meaningful, innovative, high-impact projects
  • elected office

The Pawtucket Now political movement is dedicated to forging solutions that work for ALL the citizens of Pawtucket. Unlike the current administration, we recognize the great diversity of experience in the city and seek participants from all quarters. Anybody can contribute; everybody should contribute.

Our goal is to run a full slate of independent candidates in the 2010 municipal election.

About the Meeting

This is the first meeting ever, so I don’t know what to expect. If you can’t come, please send an agent. If you can’t send an agent, please leave a comment indicating your interest. Or fill out this little survey.

And, please, tell a friend or neighbor who doesn’t read the blog.

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