Who We Are
The Riverside Renaissance Movement (RRM) is driven by the pulse of the community. It reflects the vision and concerns discussed throughout our section of East Providence. The RRM is a collaborative of voices, all echoing the same community pride. We advocate for safety, protection of our natural resources, economic growth through local businesses and the arts, and grassroots involvement. The Movement recognizes that as a community, we can facilitate positive change. We have been warmly and openly accepted by our city and we are now included in the discussions.
The Riverside Renaissance Movement (RRM) is a grassroots collaboration of residents, businesses, organizations, and public officials promoting and enhancing Riverside as a vibrant waterfront community where people want to work, live, visit, and play.
The RRM will focus on advocacy, activities, education, and promotion of the following areas:
- Beautification and Promotion of the Arts
- Community and Economic Development
- Waterfront, Environmental, and Recreational Resources
- Historical and Cultural Awareness
The RRM participates in direct service to the community through many projects and events, but at its core, the RRM serves as a forum where community stakeholders will be able to come together to collaborate and align efforts for the betterment of the neighborhood and its residents.
- Jason Rafferty Director
- Eric K. Crook Deputy Director
- Ellen Ordway Treasurer
- Open Secretary
- Open Communications Director
- Kristen Lund
- Jean Zunda
Riverside is a small, waterfront community of East Providence, defined by the 02915 zip code, with a proud history and many natural resources. After the arrival of the Providence & Warren Railroad in the 1850’s, the area became a summer destination with resort hotels and amusement parks, once touted as the “Coney Island of New England.” Over time, the community has grown and evolved despite many economic and natural challenges. Today, it is a close-knit and diverse neighborhood that is being revitalized through promotion of small business, recreation, and the arts – a movement known as the Riverside Renaissance Movement (RRM). The community continues to stand out by its unique resources including a historic carousel, scenic beaches overlooking the Providence River, the last preserved lighthouse of Northern Narragansett Bay, and the East Bay Bike Path which bring thousands of pedestrians through Riverside Square every summer.
The RRM began with informal conversations in the living rooms of neighbors in 2013 around the redevelopment of former jewelry factory in the heart of Riverside Square. In the first few years of the organization, our role in increasing community engagement and collaboration with local businesses, nonprofit organizations and public officials was quickly recognized. In a local newspaper article, the RRM was referred to as the “the pulse” of community redevelopment. The RRM took on projects from hands-on clean-up efforts of beaches and parks, to advocating for artistic installations in and around Riverside Square. By 2014, the RRM had started to engage in community building efforts through historical presentations and providing volunteers to make local fairs and festivals possible and the “membership” reaching 100 residents and property owners.
In 2015, with the support of the RRM, there was an increase in local organizations organizing events in proximity to Riverside Square, including outdoor movies, concerts, and most notably, the first East Providence Arts Council’s Looff Arts Festival at Crescent Park bringing thousands of people to the area. By the end of 2015, “advocacy” was added to the RRM’s mission which has led involved in addressing community safety, hunger, waterfront issues, and affordable housing in the subsequent years. In addition, with an increasing annual budget, facilitated through grant funds and private donations, the RRM has brought physical improvements to Riverside Square, including new street signs, benches, bike racks, and a bus shelter with a decorative theme.
Today, the RRM continues to grow in our organizational capacity, activities, and membership. However, the RRM continues to call back on our mission of promoting and enhancing the sense of “community” in Riverside through collaboration.