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House OKs State House Grounds Open Space Bill

The Rhode Island State House is located at 82 Smith St. Providence.
The Rhode Island State House is located at 82 Smith St. Providence.
The Rhode Island State House is located at 82 Smith St. Providence.

Editor’s note: The following information was provided by the Legislative Press and Public Information Bureau. The RI House has passed a bill prohibiting development on State House grounds and open space.

STATE HOUSE — The House of Representatives has passed legislation last week introduced by Rep. Joseph J. Solomon Jr. (D-Dist. 22, Warwick) preserving the history and open space of the State House grounds.

The measure now moves to the Senate for consideration.

The legislation (2022-H 6674) would prohibit the development of any land contiguous to the State House unless approved by the General Assembly. The bill comes in the wake of a plan to construct a combined bus hub and business development on State House land along Gaspee Street that would be connected with the Providence Train Station.

The legislation reads: “Notwithstanding the provisions of §§ 37-8-1 and 37-8-10, it shall be prohibited to develop any and 5 all land that is contiguous to and outside the Rhode Island State House, including the land bordered 6 by Francis Street, Gaspee Street, and Smith Street in Providence, for any development unless it is 7 approved by the general assembly.”

“While I appreciate the zeal of state planners and their efforts to develop the city, we must never forget that the Rhode Island State House — and by extension its grounds — ultimately belongs to the people,” said Representative Solomon. “It’s more than symbolic, it’s more than iconic. It’s over 100 years of history, and an important reminder to every legislator and public officials of the importance of what is done here. It is not ever to be bought and sold.”

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