Does Cranston Have What It Takes To Be A Great City?
Friday, March 22, 2013
Does Cranston still have the potential to become a great city?
Some city officials, business owners, and residents think that Cranston already is a great city.
Recently, Cranston native Olivia Culpo was crowned this year’s Miss Universe, and Family Guy creator Seth McFarlane said that the show’s fictional town of Quahog, Rhode Island was modeled after Cranston.
Swarovski crystal manufacturers’ North American headquarters have been in the Howard Industrial Park off Pontiac Avenue since the mid-70s because of its proximity to the Providence metro area, which was once the jewelry capital of the world. They’ve remained there even though jewelry manufacturing in the state has declined.
Fung said that a new development plan for the Elmwood and Wellington Avenue corridor includes a T-train stop, and the older Knightsville and Edgewood neighborhoods will soon get a facelift to create a community-to-business tie-in.
“We’re becoming more diverse in our communities, services and our workforce,” Fung said.
Crime and schools are key
Despite the need for a stabilized tax base, City Council President John Lanni said that Cranston is still attractive to people considering moving into the city because of its accessibility to all parts of the state and highways, scenic coastline, and good educational system. A stronger commercial base will allow more money allocated to education, he added.
In contrast to the quaintness of the small village settings of the city, the long vacant Park Cinema strip has transformed into a prime entertainment venue, attracting national and international artists and theatrical performances.
Some of the state’s most popular restaurants are in Cranston, particularly ethic and themed eateries, that have been around for decades, like Marchetti’s, now in its 30th year at its original Knightsville location. Owner David Marchetti said that being located in the center of the state is one reason for his success.
“There’s still work to be done,” said former Cranston Mayor John O’Leary, “but the quality of life in Cranston remains outstanding.”
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