Senate OKs Knowledge District commission bill


The Rhode Island Senate passed a bill Thursday that would set up a seven-member commission to oversee development of the so-called Knowledge District in Providence without input from the city.

About 19 acres will be available for development.

The removal of the old Interstate 195 provides the opportunity to create a new waterfront business district, which is seen as critical to the economic development of both the city and the state.

Opponents of the bill say the commission would answer to no one.

The bill’s sponsor, Senate Majority Leader Dominick Ruggerio, said the committee will have restraints.

“I think it has a tremendous amount of oversight. There’s advice and consent by the Senate. They are subject to the ethics code. They are subject to the normal hearing process, the normal policies and procedures, the administrative act that currently guides all these commissions. So I think there’s enough checks and balances in that it will be well scrutinized,” Ruggerio said.

The bill now heads to the House.

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