WBNA Enews 15 September 2011

Enews 15 September 2011


  • Neighbor Day THIS SATURDAY, noon-5pm, Luongo Memorial Square – COME!


  • VOLUNTEERS NEEDED for Dexter Training Ground Playground Build – RESPOND NOW!
  • Update on West Side Solar


  • The September Community Development Committee meeting will be held on Wednesday, September 21 at 5:30pm at the WBNA. Rob DeBlois from the Urban Collaborative Accelerated Program will present their revised plans for the Engle Tire site on Broadway.
  • The September Crime Watch is Tuesday, September 27 at 6:30pm at the WBNA.
  • The WBNA is looking for a neighbor volunteer to help write the Enews so we can better keep you informed of what’s happening! If you are interested please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Free Community Garden Tour and Harvest, Sat., Sept. 17th, 10 am, Meet at Roger Williams Community Garden in Roger Williams Park (next to Botanical Center)
  • Open House at Leorian Learning Center, 151 Broadway, suites 215 & 220 on September 21 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m, The Leorian Learning Center offers a discount to WBNA members, go to for more information!

Neighbor Day Block Party

Saturday, September 17, 12 to 5pm at Luongo Square (in front of The Avery where West Fountain and Carpenter Street meet)


With performances by The Tower & The Fool, Jeff Byrd & Dirty Finch, Brian McKenzie, and Michelle Lewis. Food Trucks will be serving eats. Plus a ‘Gansett Beerd Off, a Beard and Moustache competition


Hosted by Narragansett Beer, E&O Tap, the WBNA and 94HJY


The WBNA, in partnership with KaBOOM!, UnitedHealthcare and the City of Providence Department of Parks & Recreation, invites you to Participate in an EXCITING VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 as we team up to build a playground at Dexter Training Ground (between Dexter and Parade Streets on the West Side of Providence)! We are seeking 100 volunteers to help with this effort!


You don’t have to be skilled, trained or have any special tools – you just have to be enthusiastic, energetic, a team player, willing to work and have lots of FUN!  Join us as an individual or come with a team! Everyone must be pre-registered.

Arrive at 8:00 am for breakfast and stay until project completion at 3:00 pm. We will provide lunch, beverages, music and prizes! This build will happen RAIN or SHINE!

Contact Jen Shimkus at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 401.419.1855 to sign up!

Update West Side Solar

The neighborhood has demonstrated an overwhelming amount of interest in the WBNA’s West Side Solar program! West Side Solar brings neighbors together to group purchase solar panels for their homes and businesses thereby reducing the installation costs, electric bills and helping the environment.

118 West Side businesses and residences expressed interest in this program in advance of the submission deadline.  All addresses were pre-qualified by interested vendors.  Of the 118 properties, 60 properties were deemed very suitable for solar panels and the scope of this project*.We hope that some of the 118 properties that were not deemed “very suitable” may still be able to be a part of the program.  Once a vendor is selected we will be “re-reviewing” the entire list with them (as well as some latecomers) so we can be as inclusive as possible and so we can get the best price possible.

Concurrently, a Round One Request for Proposals (RFP) was sent to 11 different vendors. These proposals have been reviewed and three finalists have been selected for interviews. We hope to select a vendor for West Side Solar through these interviews. The WBNA is also responding to an RFP from the RI Economic Development Corporation (RIEDC) for funds for this project. Once a vendor is selected and we hear how we fare on the RIEDC proposal for funds, we will be able to present final costs and program specifics. All projections look like we may be able to increase the size of the program from 25 to 50 participants, but realize there are still many unknowns to know for certain yet.

While with each phase of the project, information is getting more specific, we want to emphasize that at this point, numbers and systems still are not final.  

*Please note that properties have not yet been reviewed by the Providence Historic District Commission or the Rhode Island Heritage and Preservation Commission which could affect a properties ability to participate.   

Thank you, neighbors and businesses, for your interest!! We will keep you informed of our progress on this project as we move to the next phase.

Kari, WBNA

**Free Community Garden Tour and Harvest Potluck (see attached flyer): 
Sat., Sept. 17th, 10 am.
Meet at Roger Williams Community Garden in Roger Williams Park (next to Botanical Center)
As a group, tour 4 diverse community gardens.  At 12 noon meet back at Roger Williams for a potluck lunch to celebrate our awesome harvest!

Who: Providence Community Growers Network

This is a lovely opportunity to check out community gardens in Providence, and to break bread with other
Community Growers in Providence.  Hope to see you there!

Please call me if you have any questions, or to sign-up for the tour.
273-9419 ext. 25
Liza Sutton

Neighbor Day THIS Saturday, September 17

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Temporarily closed


The WBNA is temporarily closed due to travel-related delays caused by Hurricane Irene. We'll be open again as soon as possible.

TOMORROW Design Day of Dexter Training Ground playground


WBNA ENEWS 8.10.2011 Design Day TOMORROW

WBNA ENEWS 8.10.2011 (scroll through to see events, on-street permit parking, West Side Solar, food cooperatives and more…)

Upcoming events

TOMORROW, Thursday, August 11 Design Day for Dexter Training Ground Playground

3pm     Children design a dream playground Location:  playground  Rain Location:  WBNA

4-7pm  Adults work on the details to prepare for  the October 11 Build Day  Location:  WBNA

Hosted by WBNA, Providence Parks Department, KaBOOM, United Healthcare, New England Patriots Foundation

Friday, August 12  Deadline to submit electric bill to pre-qualify for West Side Solar.  For more information on the program see below, including answers to “what if my house is historic?” and what to do if you have more questions.


"It Takes a Village Fair" at John Hope Settlement House, 7 Thomas P. Whitten Way, Thursday August 18th, 2011, 4-7pm  Come enjoy Free Food, Prizes, Raffles, Music and Learn about opportunities in your community! For more information contact Mary Mounier at 401-455-2330 ext 320 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Obed Papp at 401-421-6993 ext 314 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

August 18, 5:30-8:30pm  Picnic and Lawn Games with Urban Greens
Come and hang out with Urban Greens at the Dexter Training Ground for an informal picnic!
Urban Greens is working to open a Providence food co-op.  Join us for a friendly gathering - play lawn games, and have some tasty snacks and lemonade. Kids are more than welcome. If you're already a member, connect with fellow members, and hear about what we're working on.  If you're not a member yet, come by and find out about what we're doing and why you should become a member.  Croquet and Bocce!  Lemonade and Cookies!

Fertile Underground Grocery Establishes Working Groups

For those of you interested in becoming members of the new Fertile Underground Natural Cooperative, which needs no further introduction. (This organization is building the Fertile Underground Grocery at 1577 Westminster Street, Providence).  What I'd like to introduce here is a tentative arrangement for "Working Groups":

 "WORKING GROUPS"  (these are the real food ones:

Dry Goods: All sales other than produce. Inventory; merchandising. Ethics research & sourcing, suppliers. Signage. Stocking, rotation.
Produce & Dairy: Generally leafy & green.  Connections with farmers.  Ordering, deliveries & receiving.  Freshness & QC.  Signage. Long-term farm plans. 
Cafe & Bakery:  Hot, cold, healthy, I'm sold!  also includes bakery items & more. Menu, sourcing from the store; Operations. Bored of Health.
Value-added Goods:  Preserves, by-the-pound deli items, special sodas, snacks, oh it goes on .  Analyzing cost/price point. Labeling, Bored of Health. 
Mobile:  All sales happening elsewhere from 1577.  Vehicle Upkeep, location plans, promotion. 
(And now for the non-food ones..)
Admin, Co-op & Finance:  General meetings, proposals. Minutes, legal.  Co-op Membership, analysis, training, education. Personnel. Job descriptions. HR. Bookkeeping.  Accounts payable, analysis, filing, insurance.  Co-op development.
Communications & Info Systems:  Outreach material. (social) Media. Marketing. Print Materials; text content.  Signage. Website, & webmaster. Store machine maintenance, POS & sysadmin work. Phone, internet.
Physical Plant:  Store equipment, fixtures, spatial organization, maintenance & contracts. CLEANLINESS. Artwork, MURAL; macro merchandising.

This is my proposal for a division of labor.  This will allow us to begin focusing on specific parts of the process.   I'm trying to keep the amount of Groups small as possible for now.  If we find it necessary to split a group, so be it.  Each of these groups will be encouraged to create "sub-groups" to take care of specific things.  Don't feel you have to be involved in every aspect of any group.  But connect with that group, then smaller Groups will be formed.

I emphasize the name WORKING GROUPS as these are not intended to be meetings of a social club, but actually just tools for organizing the work.  Feel free to join a group, for now that means you will be receiving more invites to get involved on the specific Group you'd like to work with.  There isn't a work "commitment" so feel free to just get involved and see how it goes for a while.  Joining a group will get you in line to start taking on work, and helping us move this along.  To Join- just email back here and tell me what group(s) you'd like!
   Right now, nobody is getting paid, we're just now almost getting our inner core compensated for everything.  We are actively creating a business, and now have access to the retail space at 1577 Westminster.  The work begins NOW in earnest.  We're doing markets outside the space, and beginning to organize our equipment in the space.    Physical Plant is an area where a lot of work will be happening in-the-now. Spatial folks, movers, and mural artists!!  Helping participate in the discussions & research of Dry Goods will also be very helpful.  Farmers, get in the loop on the Produce Group.  Graphics folks- Communications can use you.  I think you get the picture.  You can join multiple groups.  Get in as deep as you want.
    For those of you who asked us for a job: this is our application process.  We're all putting in a lot up front, we're going to have to expect that from others as well.   We are tracking up front time, which will be valued, to later be potential store credit etc, when we are stable enough to get you back.  We welcome volunteers, and for more committed folks, we are open to helping you in what ways we can.  Those who show themselves to be like-minded and proactive and vibe with us well will become the crew and team for the Fertile Underground Grocery, operated by the Fertile Underground Natural Cooperative, a worker-cooperative  (group ownership & control.  you can join- prove yourself!!). 
   Yes, now is certainly a good day to work together.  WE are the Ones We've been Waiting For. 
   Truly Yours, 

Overnight on-street public permit parking

The Mayor and the City Council are discussing possibly expanding the overnight on-street public parking permit program citywide.  Much of this neighborhood is currently in a  pilot program for permit parking.  Other areas such as the area between Messer Street and Route 10 are not in the pilot area yet many neighbors in that area would like to see the program expanded to encompass their area.  Our City Council people, Councilwoman Matos and Councilman Principe are supportive of a citywide expansion; however, other council people are not.  Please sign the attached petition and/or write letters to the Mayor and City Council to help maintain and expand our demonstration project.  Thank you to neighbor James Ruh for sending this information along.

FYI – check out the link below.  I sent in the petition.  Please pass onto anyone in the city that hates the ban on parking.  The city council is close to voting on this so hopefully we can put it through!


Link to send petition to the city


Attention Neighbors interested in getting solar panels on your home or business!!

PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD TO NEIGHBORS. The more West Side homes and business that participate the better pricing we can get for installation and equipment.  So far 105 business and resident West Siders have signed up to pre-qualify! 

Questions? Many neighbors want to know what size PV system can fit on their house? And how much money they will save on their electric bill with PV? Each location is site specific, however, for a preliminary look to see if your roof is facing a good direction to collect solar power and how much you could save, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or bring your electric bill to WBNA, 1560 Westminster Street, 02909

West Side Solar Summary

WBNA is sponsoring a neighborhood-wide Solar PV bulk purchase and installation program to be implemented in the Fall of 2011.  Residents and building owners of the West Broadway neighborhood can sign up for the program which will allow for participants to generate solar renewable energy for use in their homes and buildings.  The program is a neighborhood wide effort which will benefit from lower bulk sales and installation pricing and simplification of financing.

WBNA will form a separate legal entity named WBNA Solar Owner LLC, to purchase, own and lease the solar PV equipment to the participants.  WBNA Solar Owner LLC plans to receive loans and grants from the RI Economic Development Corporation and the RI Office of Energy Resources, in addition to federal subsidies, to finance the purchase and installation of the Solar PV. 

WBNA Solar Owner LLC will contract with the selected solar vendor to provide and install the Solar PV equipment onto the individual rooftops of the participants.  Each of the resident and building owner participants will enter into a 10-year lease with WBNA Solar Owner LLC.  During the time of the lease, all electricity generated by Solar PV will be used by or credited to the account of the participant resident or building owner.

The average system size for a neighborhood home is expected to be a 4 kW array (other systems can be smaller or larger depending on roof size and this just serves as an example).  The average system is expected to produce 4,600-4,700 KwH of electricity a year, which would be approximately 60-80% of the electricity used by typical residence in the neighborhood.  Note that an individual analysis must be performed on each building to give specific estimates for each participant.

There is no cost for potential participants to pre-qualify their building for the neighborhood-wide Solar Program.  Residents must provide WBNA a recent National Grid electric bill in order to perform a pre-qualifying analysis.  In order to commit to the program, pre-qualified resident and building owner participants must put a refundable deposit of $250 / kW system size expected.  If the project does not move forward with a minimum amount of participants, the deposit will be returned to the participant.  During the term of the 10-year lease, each participant will pay WBNA Solar Owner LLC $20- $25 / kW system size installed per month as an equipment lease payment. So for an average system size of 4 kW a participant will need to pay an initial down payment of $1,000 and will have lease payments of $80 - 100 per month for 10 years. Note that participants may need to pay additional upfront costs if their building or roof needs to be modified because of less than ideal installation circumstances.  Also note, that these cost could be lower depending on the number of participants. The goal is to get every customer as close as possible to 100% of electric needs at the same cost or less of what you currently pay for electricity.

At least 25 residents and building owner participants must be pre-qualified and committed by Aug 15 to move forward with the project.  For every additional 15 residents that are pre-qualified and committed by Aug 15 we expect to see additional savings in the cost of bulk purchase and installation.  The solar vendor is expected to be selected through an RFP process by Sept 15 with installations starting Oct 1.  It is expected that all installations will be complete by Dec 1.

What if my house is historic?  Most of the WBNA focus area is in a National Register Historic District and some of the area is in a local historic district.  This means participating projects will need to be reviewed by the RI Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission. This does not mean that “historic” houses cannot have solar panels.  Each situation will be unique. Houses whose south facing façade faces the rear of the property should not have a problem getting approval.  Houses with the south facing façade facing the front of the property might not qualify or have more of a challenge.  This project will be a great opportunity to work with these offices to work on the compatibility of solar panels in historic neighborhoods.

If interested email, your electric bill as a PDF  to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it." target="_blank" title="blocked::mailto:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and include your name, address, and email.  It is important to include the page of your bill that lists the electric usage for the past 12 months.

More questions?  That’s OK.  While we have to move quickly with this program to make the federal tax credit Dec. 31 deadline, the program is still being developed as we proceed.  We want to make it a program that works for everyone.  Email us your questions and while we might not be able to answer all of them right away, your questions will help us shape the program and know what we need to get answered to make it work.

Thank you!        Kari, WBNA

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