Valley Breeze

The North Providence Breeze 01-13-2021

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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6 NORTH PROVIDENCE JANUARY 13-19, 2021 | VALLEY BREEZE | NORTH PROVIDENCE EDITION circumstances than North Providence when it comes to businesses closing down. "This COVID is really having an effect," he said. Hopefully, said Lombardi, the pan- demic will soon be over and business can get back to normal, but in the meantime, town officials will con- tinue to be friendly to businesses and encourage them to come here. "We'll continue to operate the way we have," he said. Lombardi said he himself has felt the financial impact of the pan- demic, as he was recently forced to close the Smithfield location of his Luxury Cleaners chain at 285 George Washington Highway. It wasn't an easy decision after 74 years in busi- ness, he said, but "it's the right and smart business decision to stop the bleeding." According to Lombardi, that par- ticular location was "more corporate" and relied heavily on the 3,000 or so people who were working at Fidelity Investments, but many of those people are now working from home and no longer have a need for dry cleaning. "I'm with the rest of the businesses and I know how hurtful it is," said Lombardi, adding that the business will keep remaining locations open in Cumberland, North Smithfield and North Providence. Lombardi has become so con- cerned about the excess commercial space and the potential for more businesses to close that he's asking the potential buyer of the old safety complex on Mineral Spring Avenue to stick with standalone businesses, such as restaurants, instead of bring- ing in another strip mall. After a particularly slow few months, said Lombardi, his town and others are starting to see a small uptick in calls of interest related to commercial space. The old BURGER KING on Mineral Spring Avenue in North Providence has sat vacant for nearly a year as the number of commercial vacancies in the area contin- ues to creep up. BREEZE PHOTOS BY ETHAN SHOREY The redeveloped BENNY'S PLAZA on Route 44 is still completely empty. VACANT From Page One the part-time Amsden, but the town certainly has lost quite a few. He said he gets called in only when it's time to inspect a tree that's dead or infested by insects and deemed hazardous, and Northeastern Tree is then brought in to take care of such trees on town property. Amsden's good friend, the late Roland Mergener, was North Providence's staunchest advocate for planting new trees, particularly in the Fruit Hill neighborhood, but no one has really taken up that cause since he died in 2011. A drive around town reveals that many of the evergreen arborvitae trees, often used as property barriers and screens, have also died, in addi- tion to the taller trees. The fact that the town is so over- developed, with so many trees located in close proximity to where plows push snow and salt, further adds to the issues created by cli- mate conditions and insects. North Providence also has a dearth of street trees. Amsden, who was set to be reap- pointed as tree warden on Tuesday, Jan. 12, said he would be willing to help coordinate any type of pro- gram the town starts, perhaps in the spring, though he noted that he has limited hours and the pandemic has complicated such efforts. He said it's also become more difficult to acquire the money for such plant- ings. Asked this week about the town's efforts on trees, Mayor Charles Lombardi conceded to The Breeze that such efforts really haven't been much of a priority, but he would certainly consider doing more to push them. The trees Amsden inspects after getting called often look like they're on private property, said the war- den, but the town is responsible for them because they're within 6 feet of the asphalt. A healthy tree cover is considered important for a number of reasons, including creating lower tempera- tures in neighborhoods, reducing pollution, lowering exposure to the sun, and overall contributing to the beauty and quality of life in the community. The Valley Breeze is committed to keep- ing quality news stories like this one free to our readers. You can be a huge part of this local journalism success story by making a one-time or monthly contribu- tion to what we do every week at valley- breeze.com/support. Thank you as always for reading. BREEZE PHOTO BY ETHAN SHOREY A row of trees along Mineral Spring Avenue near Lowe's appears to be mostly dead. The town has lost much of its tree-scape in recent years, with only spotty efforts to replace them. TREES From Page One BUYING - GOLD, SILVER & OTHER PRECIOUS METALS OLD, BROKEN, NEW! HIGH SCHOOL/COLLEGE RINGS WE BUY IT ALL!! EAST PROVIDENCE - WARWICK Vero Industries Silverware, Jewelry, Serving Trays, Tea/Coffee Sets or Pieces, Watches, Half Earring Pieces, etc. Buyer & Seller of individual coins and collections. Call Lee, 401-434-8900 Day, Evening and Weekend appointments available at our location or yours! LIC.# 202003-001

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