New mayor of East Providence eyes numerous opportunities for city

Mayor Bob DaSilva, the first in the city of East Providence, tells NBC 10 News that he eyes numerous opportunities for city. (WJAR)

East Providence has a mayor for the first time. Bob DaSilva won the seat in November after voters approved changing the city charter from the previous city manager form of government.

The idea is that because the city manager answered to the City Council, and often didn’t even live in the city, that a mayor would be more accountable.

"I feel the mayoral form of government is more responsive to the people we represent. So, I answer to the community at large," DaSilva told NBC 10 News on Wednesday. "I'm looking at this as a resident who’s fully invested in this community, whose children attend public school in this community, as a property owner who pays taxes in this community."

DaSilva said he sees the construction of a new high school as one of the biggest projects before him. The price tag is estimated to be more than $180 million, with the state kicking in a large portion of the cost.

DaSilva said he thinks it’s an investment in the community that will pay dividends for years to come.

"We're going to have a premier state of the art high school for the state of Rhode Island, right here in East Providence, and when people looking to move into a community or establish a family or buy their first home, they’re going to look in East Providence," he said.

Even for people who do not have children in the school, he predicted their home values would increase enough that it will benefit them.

The waterfront is an area that holds great potential.

"People don’t realize what a gem we have here. It'd be an incredible place for a corporate headquarters, an incredible place for a corporate campus," DaSilva said.

DaSilva pointed out that the area is a federal opportunity zone, providing tax breaks to businesses that locate there. And if he can lure corporate development on the unused waterfront, it will provide tax relief to homeowners.

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