Scott Avedisian can be a patient man, but it’s a good thing he didn’t wait any longer.
In what was the last ribbon cutting of his more than 18 years as mayor, Avedisian did the honors Tuesday to officially open the Business Information Center (BIC) sponsored by the Greenwood Credit Union in the lower level of the Central Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce building across from Warwick City Hall. Tuesday was Avedisian’s last day of being mayor before taking on his role of chief executive officer of the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority beginning June 1.
City Council President Joseph Solomon, who assumed the role of acting mayor on Wednesday, was in the lineup behind the red ribbon. However, it was Avedisian who wielded the oversized scissors to make the opening official.
Indeed, “patience” is the operative word when it comes to the restoration of the “Victorian Lady” of Apponaug. Steven Kitchin of the New England Institute of Technology and former chairman of the chamber board of directors has headed the drive to restore the building to its glory as well as upgrade heating, plumbing and electrical service to today’s standards. On Tuesday he had to think how long it’s been before coming up with the answer of five years. During that time the condition of the building languished, its salmon paint peeling as the chamber sought to meet its goal to raise $175,000.
The city could have clamped down on its minimum housing codes, which very well could have forced the chamber out. That didn’t happen.
Chamber president and CEO Lauren Slocum thanked Avedisian and the city for their patience. She thanked Avedisian for his vision that the chamber had a place in the revitalization of Apponaug. Avedisian called the chamber “a little shining star that is one part of what Apponaug can be.”
“I wasn’t sure this day would ever come,” said Kitchin.
He said the building as it stands today is the first phase of the restoration. The second phase with a budget of $75,000 calls for additional work on the heating and air conditioning system and electrical and plumbing.
Frederick Reinhardt, president and CEO of Greenwood Credit Union, said the BIC is “designed to support small business” and for the credit union to live up to its role in support of the community. Slocum explained that Greenwood helped furnish the center that is used by a variety of groups for classes, meetings and training sessions.
In his remarks, Avedisian said that without Slocum, her leadership, support and vision the city’s business community would not be where it is today, nor would the revitalization of Apponaug.