PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) - The Rhode Island School of Design has agreed to more than double its voluntary payments to the city in exchange for a semi-exclusive right to parking spaces around its campus, Providence Mayor Angel Taveras announced Thursday.
RISD will pay more than $425,000 annually to the city for the next 11 years, up from around $200,000 a year under an existing 2003 agreement negotiated by Congressman David Cicilline when he was mayor. The $2.75 million deal must be approved by the City Council.
“We have always believed a fiscally sound and flourishing Providence is the responsibility of all, and important for RISD’s own continued success,” RISD President John Maeda said in a statement. “We remain concerned about Providence’s financial situation and are therefore pleased, at this time, to be able to increase our support to the city in a way that benefits both Providence and RISD.”
In exchange, Providence has agreed to give RISD "semi-exclusive access" to parking spaces "on certain streets convenient to the RISD campus," the mayor's office said. "A number of the spaces being made available to RISD are currently ‘no parking zones’ and most of the spaces only provide exclusive access during morning hours," according to the city.
"RISD has helped grow Providence’s creative capital for years," Taveras said in a statement. "I am pleased that President Maeda and the entire RISD community have stepped up to the plate to be a part of the long-term solution that will position Providence for the future."
RISD's decision leaves Providence College as the only major nonprofit college or hospital in the capital that hasn't reached a financial agreement with the Taveras administration, which said the money from the nonprofits was needed along with pension reductions to help the city stave off bankruptcy.
Taveras administration says its deals with the other six major institutions -
RISD , Brown University, Johnson & Wales University, Lifespan, Care New England and
CharterCARE - will provide more than $44 million for Providence's municipal budget over the coming years.
PC has made $2.5 million in voluntary payments so far under the 2003 deal between Cicilline and the colleges and is on track to pay another $3.2 million over the lifetime of the agreement, spokesman Steven Maurano told WPRI.com. "Meanwhile, we have not asked for a single thing in return," he said.
"We continue to talk with the city and the dialogue is one of mutual respect," Maurano said of discussions with Taveras. "The mayor understands that, unlike some of the other institutions, PC has no current plans to expand beyond our existing campus footprint." PC hasn't expanded since it bought the old Chapin Hospital in the 1970s.
"PC is not looking for anything from the city," Maurano said. "If that were to change, we understand that an agreement based on a quid pro quo would be in order." He also noted PC's other contributions, including a partnership with the parks department and the economic impact of its new $20 million Ruane Center.