Mayor Elorza, councilors oppose planned Pawtucket waste transfer station near city line

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza and members of the City Council say they oppose a plan to build a waste transfer station on Concord Street in Pawtucket near the city line

The council voted Thursday to support a non-binding resolution sponsored by Ward 4 Councilman Nick Narducci raising concerns about the proposal. A spokesperson for Mayor Jorge Elorza confirmed the mayor is also against the transfer station.

“The Providence City Council has a moral obligation to fight all forms of environmental injustice and to protect the people of Providence from projects that would change the character of their communities and diminish their quality of life,” the resolution states.

For years Pawtucket leaders have been attempting to find an alternative to the city’s current waste facility on Grotto Avenue, which “has environmental issues and directly abuts a dense residential area and an elementary school,” Pawtucket Mayor Don Grebien said in a prepared statement.

Grebien said Link Environmental’s proposed facility on Concord Street would “is in a less populated, industrial area in closer proximity to the highway.” Unlike the current transfer station, the new one would be fully enclosed and “equipped with systems to address odors and pests,” he said.

But Narducci’s resolution states the facility will be “extremely close to Providence’s predominantly residential Charles and North End neighborhoods,” the areas that include Ward 4. The resolution claims Providence residents “have been left out of the planning and discussions surrounding this project.”

Victor Morente, Elorza’s press secretary, provided a letter Providence’s traffic engineer sent to the Pawtucket City Planning Commission laying out concerns about the transfer station. The letter urged the commission to hire an “independent traffic engineering consultant to verify the anticipated traffic” from the facility.

Grebien said a traffic study is currently underway.

“I respect Providence’s perspective and have spoken to Mayor Elorza,” Grebien said. “I want for my community exactly what he wants for his – no undue burden on the neighborhood, which this facility seeks to do.”

State Rep. Marcia Ranglin-Vassell, whose House District 5 includes Providence’s North End, said she also opposes the facility.

“This matter before you today will adversely affect my neighbors who live in Wanskuck,” Ranglin-Vassell wrote in a letter to the planning commission. “They have called and voice their frustrations, objections and concerns. I strongly oppose this move to build a new transfer station on Concord Street because of the life altering impacts that it will have on the health and quality of life of my constituents.”

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Dan McGowan ( dmcgowan@wpri.com ) covers politics, education and the city of Providence for WPRI.com. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter: @danmcgowan