Mayor hopes redevelopment will revitalize downtown Pawtucket

PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — The city of Pawtucket is considering some big changes to try and improve its downtown area. Mayor Donald Grebien knows a lot of work needs to be done, but said he’s optimistic about the city’s future.

The city has received a new, independent report from the International Economic Development Council, offering a series of suggestions to revitalize downtown Pawtucket.

“We want to see a downtown that has density, where people are walking the streets,” Grebien said Thursday.

The first item on the list is to repair the parking garage on Main Street. Grebien wants to blow out the vacant store fronts there, saying it will improve safety and increase foot traffic.

“There’s a fear because on that lower level it’s dark in there, no matter what lighting we’ve done,” he said. “What it does is it opens up the front so it’s visible from the front – as opposed to the side – and it lightens it up.”

Grebien said they’ve looked into installing security cameras, but came across some issues.

The mayor also believes fixing up the front of the parking garage will show small business owners that the city is serious about a downtown revival.

“We’re trying to get things done because we understand that people want to see things change and happen,” he said.

Grebien said downtown will never be like it was when those stores were open, but he believes the area can be vibrant in a different way.

The mayor said he hopes to see improvements made to the parking garage by the end of this construction season.

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