Taveras submits nominations for I-195 commission


Mayor Angel Taveras said Tuesday he has nominated six people to serve on the I-195 District Commission.

The commission will oversee the development of 20 acres of land reclaimed by the removal of the old highway.

Taveras’ nominees are Arnold “Buff” Chace, Zachary Darrow, Barbara Hunger, John Kelly, Mark Ryan and Laurie White.

“Members of this Commission will play a pivotal role in shaping the future of Providence and the State of Rhode Island. I am confident that these highly qualified individuals will bring considerable expertise to the Commission and look forward to working with the appointees to maximize this unprecedented opportunity for economic development,” Taveras said in a news release.

Taveras’ choices were submitted to Gov. Lincoln Chafee for his consideration.  Three of the mayor’s candidates will be selected by Chafee for the seven-member commission. The governor will choose three of his own nominees and one from a list submitted by the speaker of the House.

The state Senate must confirm all members.

Descriptions of the candidates from a city of Providence news release:

Arnold “Buff” Chace – Mr. Chace is the President CEO of Cornish Associates and has 33 years of experience as an investor, financial advisor, urban planner and real estate developer. He is the Managing General Partner of Cornish Associates, Westminster Street Lofts and Mashpee Commons, L.P. Buff, a longtime Providence resident, is the past Chairman of the Board for Trinity Repertory Company in Providence, board member emeritus of Grow Smart RI, officer and member of the Executive Committee of the Providence Foundation and inaugural member of the Congress for New Urbanism.

Zachary Darrow – Mr. Darrow is the Managing Partner of the Providence based law firm DarrowEverett, LLP where his practice focuses primarily on commercial real estate, corporate, and commercial finance matters. He also currently serves as the Mayor’s Special Advisor on I-195 and the Knowledge District. Zach has been an Adjunct Professor for Roger Williams University School of Law since 2008, regularly teaching courses in Commercial Real Estate Development Finance and Commercial Leasing. Previously, Zach was a Senior Real Estate Manager for CVS/Caremark – CVS Realty Co., a practicing attorney with the firm of Hinckley, Allen Snyder LLP and a partner with the firm of Burns Levinson, LLP. He has also served in various other non-legal capacities, including serving as President of Real Estate for a national subsidiary of a prominent New York based hedge fund and as Vice President of New Market Development Chief Legal Officer for a national retail real estate developer.

Barbara Hunger – Ms. Hunger has been a registered nurse in the Labor and Delivery Unit at Women and Infants Hospital for 25 years. Her extensive civic involvement includes leadership positions in the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and Elmwood Neighborhood Housing as well as volunteerism with CityArts, Community Music Works and the Steel Yard. She has been an Elmwood resident and homeowner for 25 years and raised two children in the Providence Public Schools.

John Kelly – Mr. Kelly has been the President and CEO of Meeting Street School for the last 14 years. Meeting Street serves over 3,000 Rhode Island children and families each year. During his tenure, John oversaw the development of Meeting Street’s $25 million South Providence campus which resulted in over 180 jobs moving to South Providence (with an additional 40 jobs added since its relocation). An attorney by training, John previously focused his law practice in corporate and real estate law as a partner at Tillinghast, Collins Graham. John subsequently held a leadership position in a non-profit organization, The Coalition for Community Development, which was created to revitalize downtown Providence. He has served as Chair of the Board of Directors of The Genesis Center and the Providence Revolving Fund and has chaired four city boards and commissions: the Port Commission, the Zoning Board of Review, Adhoc Permitting Review and the Salary Review Commission. As chair of the Adhoc Permitting Review group, John was tasked with streamlining the city’s permitting process. To date, the City has implemented electronic plan review, concurrent plan review and launched of an expedited review process. He is a resident of the city’s south side.

Mark Ryan – Mr. Ryan is a principal at Moses and Afonso, Ltd. where he concentrates his practice in the areas of corporate and business law. Previously, Mark worked at the Providence Journal Company for over twenty-three years where he rose to the position of executive vice president and general manager. He serves as First Vice Chairman and Trustee of the Providence Performing Arts Center; a Director and Member of the Nominating and Legislative Committees of the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce; a Member of the Rhode Island Commodores and a Member of the Rhode Island Bar Association.

Laurie White – Ms. White has been the President of the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce since 2005. Previously, she served as Executive Counselor to the Governor for Policy and Communications and Senior Vice President of the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce. She is a member of the Executive Board of the University of Rhode Island Foundation, a member of the Board of Trustees of the Rhode Island Historical Society, a member of the Board of Directors of the Providence Plan, a member of the Board of Governors of the Rhode Island Commodores, a member of the President’s Council at Providence College, a member of the President’s Civic Leadership Council at Brown University and a member of the President’s Advisory Council at the University of Rhode Island.

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