Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Bridge Turns Purple for Prince

The front page of the Providence Journal recently featured a  striking photo of the new Rt 95 bridge bathed in a purple glow.   Mayor Donald Grebien had responded creatively  to the death of  one of America's greatest  musicians and performers, PRINCE.   I was struck by the beauty of the picture and the aptness of the tribute.  It was also  another  example of the  sound judgement of  Mayor Grebien and his responsiveness to the mood and  needs of  the people of  Pawtucket.

This is not the first time that the Mayor has shown good sense and sensitivity. His nuanced and  well-timed response to the  Pawtucket Red Sox and their threatened departure from  Pawtucket resulted in a renewal of the attempts to persuade  the Red Sox  to stay  on and  consider  upgrading the landmark McCoy Stadium. Symbolically,  Grebien threw out the first pitch on opening day  and that gesture to "PLAY BALL" seemed to  promise renewed efforts to  raise the loyalty of  the city population  to the ball team and the team to the city.

 One of the reactions I had to the news that came crashing down last year that the Red Sox were going  to move out of McCoy was a sadness and sense of injustice that our small  but important city, a  place that once had pioneered so much,  has been stripped of so many of its assets. Now on  bleak days it seems like a blighted shell of its former industrial and merantile glory--a city that could hardly sustain another loss.

Now another loss is  underway.  We have been told recently of a  plan to close down the historic Memorial Hospital  in the guise of   efficiency and cost saving. This announcement has raised the specter that this  city  will lose  a hospital that has served for over a century the  needs of the area that includes Pawtucket, Central Falls and Valley Falls, The Sayles family that  provided the initial funds  created a hospital that was a touchstone for  Pawtucket pride and well being.  I remember  walking in the grounds  when I was a child and admiring the young nursing students  in their crisp uniforms and dramatic capes  who lived in the   gracious Nursing School residence  --still visible on the Pond Street side of the  hospital campus. The people of Pawtucket  and Central Falls deserve a full service  hospital  near where they live as the  founders of the Hospital intended.

Yes, Pawtucket  has some major assets still intact but the city's greatest asset is its diverse and  enterprising population.  Seeing that  photo of the bridge bathed in a magic purple glow  also made me aware that something new and praise worthy has been added to the assets of  the city of Pawtucket.   See how we are still growing and evolving under the able leadership of Donald Grebien?


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