You know you’re in trouble when the landmark on your street is a rusting steel frame that holds up a building façade and blocks the sidewalk and part of the street.
Yet that is exactly what lower Weybosset Street in Providence’s Financial District has been saddled with for the better part of a decade.
The maintenance of the Providence National Bank façade in anticipation of construction of new buildings behind it has turned the once-humming part of the city’s core into a shadow of what it once was.
The merchants in the area suffered as street traffic declined to subsistence levels, a problem exacerbated by the Arcade’s closure in 2008.
Now the city, developers and preservationists are taking the first important step of moving the façade’s support frame off the sidewalk to the interior of the building. And money is starting to flow to the street, redeveloping the historic office buildings on and near Weybosset. With all the talk about the coming Knowledge District in Providence, it’s important to note that not all assets are of the intellectual variety. •