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Providence Redevelopment Agency (PRA)

Historically, Redevelopment Agencies across the country have used their broad powers to acquire properties and clear large tracts of land for redevelopment, based on their purpose of the elimination of blight. Today, the effect of some of these broad sweeping acquisitions and actions are seen as less then desirable and have resulted in development which is discordant with its surroundings.
Today, the Providence Redevelopment Agency recognizes the importance of neighborhood character, architectural context and property ownership. With careful planning and restraint, the Agency attempts to take a more nuanced approach to redevelopment which fosters neighborhood revitalization and private investment.

In 1946, the State enabled the creation of redevelopment agencies in every city and town in Rhode Island. The Providence Redevelopment Agency was established in 1947, under this authority. Currently, the Agency operates under the powers set out in Chapters 31-33 of Title 45 of the Rhode Island General Laws, the "Redevelopment Act of 1956".

In the Redevelopment Act, the State declared its policy to be "to protect and promote the health, safety, morals, and general welfare of the state, and particularly of the people of the communities of the state in which blighted and substandard areas exist, by the elimination and prevention of these areas through the utilization of all means appropriate for that purpose, thereby encouraging the provision of healthful homes, a decent living environment, and adequate places for employment of the people of this state and its communities in these areas through redevelopment".

The membership of the Providence Redevelopment Agency consists of the Mayor of the City of Providence, ex officio, and seven members. Five of the members are required to be resident electors of the City and are appointed by the Mayor, and two are required to be members of the City Council, appointed by the City Council.

Through the Redevelopment Agency and the Providence City Plan Commission, and with the approval of the Providence City Council, areas of the City which contain blighted and substandard conditions are established as Redevelopment Areas. Redevelopment Plans are then created to establish project areas within the larger Redevelopment Area, to propose specific improvements under the project plan and to propose an implementation strategy.

In order to pursue the purpose of the elimination and prevention of blighted and substandard areas, the Redevelopment Agency is granted broad power within the Redevelopment Areas and through the implementation of Redevelopment Plans. Generally, these powers include the following:

  • Acquisition and lease of property;Eminent Domain;
  • Relocation of individuals or businesses;
  • Renovation or demolition of property;
  • Development of building sites;
  • Sale or lease of property;
  • Restrictions on use of property;
  • Preparation and implementation of Redevelopment Plans;
  • Design, layout and installation of alterations to streets, sidewalks, public utilities, parks, off street parking areas and other public improvements;
  • Proposal of zoning changes;
  • Provision of technical assistance to property owners regarding improvements;
  • Implementation of code enforcement projects;
  • Application for and utilization of grant funds;Investment of funds;
  • Lending and mortgaging of property;
  • Issuance of bonds; and,
  • Tax Increment Financing plans.

Meetings & Agendas
The Providence Redevelopment Agency typically meets on the second Wednesday or Thursday of every month at 4:00 p.m at 444 Westminster Street, 1st floor conference room to review pending applications. Click here for the 2013 meeting schedule & agendas.

Contact Information
Donald D. Gralnek, Executive Director
Providence Redevelopment Agency

Providence Redevelopment Agency
Department of Planning & Development
444 Westminster Street, Suite 3A
Providence, RI 02903-3215
Fax 401.680.8492

Office Hours
January-June and September-December
8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday

8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday

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