North Providence #35: RI’s Best Communities 2012

Monday, June 25, 2012


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North Providence

This feisty community never seems to get completely clear of scandal--last year's City Council arrests have yielded to this year's Police Chief being accused by a stripper of using his unmarked police vehicle to accost her and two other individuals while out of uniform. It's never dull in this small town that likes to celebrate its intense Rhode Island culture. And small it is. North Providence, is in fact, the smallest town by area (5.8 square miles) in the smallest state. This is a nuanced claim (the city of Central Falls is Rhode Island's smallest municipality and Warren holds the title for smallest town in the smallest county of the smallest state). But part of what contributes to North Providence's struggles is that it's a crowded place. The town has the eighth-highest population of Rhode Island's 39 cities and towns, and the second-highest of the state's towns after Coventry. Which means a lot needs to be delivered in a small space, and that's a challenge for any community.

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For the second year in a row, North Providence held its #35 ranking. The good news? North Providence's Median Household Income grew this year, from $47,751 to $50,013. Median Housing Prices dropped to $170,000, which means the town got considerably more affordable, and rose dramatically in the Affordability rankings by 10 notches, up to #19. On the Education rankings for 2012, though, the town dropped a spot to #33, and in Safety, a full 6 spots down to #26.

North Providence by the numbers

Established: 1636
Population: 32,078
Median household income: $50,013
Median housing price: $170,000

2012 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 35
Affordability ranking: 19
Education ranking: 33
Economic condition ranking: 33
Safety ranking: 26
Arts & Culture ranking: 29
Restaurants & Bars ranking: 10

History in a nutshell:

Feisty from the start, North Providence was separated from Providence after a group of farmers, unhappy with Providence’s government, petitioned the general assembly to form their own town. On June 13, 1765, the general assembly approved the request and North Providence was formed. However, due to four separate annexations, North Providence saw areas of its land re-annexed to Providence and Pawtucket. Although it is one of the state’s smallest communities, it is a bustling residential area with a population a little over 32,000. It is a very accessible area with major highways connecting it to the rest of the state. Most of North Providence’s residents work outside of their community but residential growth is still in the rise.

Famous residents:

Ernie DiGregorio, former NBA player
Jim Gilchrist, founder of the controversial Minuteman Project
Danielle Lacourse, Miss Rhode Island USA 2007, first runner-up at Miss USA 2007
Zellio Toppazzini, NHL - AHL hockey player, Rhode Island Reds Player of the Century, Providence College Head Coach
Bob Giammarco, former Providence radio talk show host and elected official in Cranston

Famous residents source: Wikipedia

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