Providence Working Waterfront Alliance

CLIENT: Providence Working Waterfront Alliance

ISSUE: Faced with city plans to rezone their neighborhood to allow for incompatible mixed-use residential development, a group of marine and heavy industrial business in the Port of Providence turned to Advocacy Solutions to fight the plan and to educate the public and elected officials about the tremendous economic impact of Providence’s working waterfront.

CAMPAIGN: To build public awareness about the need to protect Providence’s working waterfront, Advocacy Solutions planned and launched an integrated issue campaign combining coalition building, grassroots outreach, earned media, and direct lobbying of city, state, and federal officials. Specific campaign activities have included:

• Organizing the Providence Working Waterfront Alliance, a coalition of 14 marine and heavy industrial businesses in the Port of Providence. Coalition members include National Grid, Sprague Energy, Promet Marine Services, Philips Services Corporation, St. Lawrence Cement, and the Oil Heat Institute of Rhode Island.

• Reaching out to and winning the support of city, state, and regional groups including the Newport County Chamber of Commerce, the Propeller Club of Narragansett Bay, the Rhode Island Fisherman’s Alliance, the Rhode Island MicroEnterprise Association, and the North Atlantic Ports Association.

• Authoring all coalition press releases, op-eds, and letters to the editor which have resulted in more than 60 media placements including articles in the New York Times, Providence Journal, Providence Business News, and broadcast radio and television coverage.

• Winning editorial support from the Providence Journal and Providence Business News who have published 15 editorials arguing in favor of protecting Providence’s working waterfront from incompatible mixed-use residential development.

• Commissioning economic impact and planning studies to detail the value of Providence’s working waterfront to the city, state, and region.

• Managing a multi-organization direct lobbying effort of city, state, and federal officials.

• Coordinating all coalition testimony at city and state house hearings.

• Organizing port tours for the media, city, state, and federal officials.

• Launching and maintaining the website and blog.

Result: Widespread support among the public, Providence community groups, and elected officials for protecting Providence’s working waterfront from incompatible mixed-use residential development. This support has resulted in changes to the city’s comprehensive plan and zoning ordinance to better protect existing marine and industrial businesses.