I Know a Place… With Brett Smiley

Published in People in Preservation.

Think you know a place? We’re highlighting places that define a quintessential Providence experience for residents of the Creative Capital. PPS has asked each of the declared mayoral candidates to share with us their favorite places in Providence, and will be sharing them over the next several months. 

Providence Pedestrian Bridge

Providence’s Pedestrian Bridge is great public asset. I was working for Mayor Cicilline when the design competition took place and over ten years later we have this amazing new place in Providence. It attracts a true cross-section of the city and proves that great cities have great public spaces. I also see it as a signal of hope for good things to come – the park will be built-out, the river walk will be enhanced and the Knowledge district continues to grow.

Cranston Street Armory

The People’s Castle is a source of excitement and inspiration for many. I fondly remember Mayor Elorza’s inaugural celebration in the building. As the State’s Director of Administration, I worked to support the redevelopment and revitalization of the building. We now have a great plan in place, and I hope we’ll use some of our federal stimulus money to finally move forward.

Nick’s on Broadway

Besides being one of the best restaurants in the city, Nick’s has special meaning for me and my husband Jim. In December of 2007, Jim proposed to me over dessert at Nick’s. The entire staff was in on it and it was wonderful.

Former Headquarters of the Providence Water Supply Board

I was the chair of the Water Supply Board when we used to meet in the board room in this building. It is another former city building looking for a new life. The architecture is lovely and it’s important that we preserve it while finding a productive new use.

Knight Memorial Library

The Providence Community Libraries have done a terrific job reinvigorating neighborhood library branches that are so much more than places with books. Several years ago the community came together to raise money to repair the front steps and open their front door to historic Elmwood.

196 Camp Street

Now part of a building owned by the Mount Hope Community Center, 60 years ago this was a cobbler shop owned and operated by my husband’s grandfather, whose family lived up the street. Over the years, the community has changed and the urban renewal project of the 60s and 70s ripped apart this neighborhood when they tore down countless houses to build University Heights. The store remains a part of my family’s story but also a reminder that the planning and development decisions we make can have a ripple effect for decades.

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