To the Editor:
I am writing this letter to discuss the recent article written titled “Fung happy with poll, focuses on Cranston success.” After reading this article, one specific quote really stuck out to me:
“[Our message] has been about Cranston and all the successes we’ve had there…we’ve got the right recipe to turn things around in Rhode Island,” he said. “Fixing our finances, focusing on our residents, focusing on our small businesses.”
With recent talks about the upcoming city ordinance decision, which will change the zone layout of the corner of Warwick Avenue and Park Avenue to a complete zone 3 allowing a Cumberland Farms to be established there, makes one wonder how the above quote fits into the Mayor’s plan for this site.
This proposed change will be going into a neighborhood that is built around a small business lifestyle and a change of this magnitude would be directly affecting many small businesses.
Within walking distance of this location, there are two gas stations, three convenient stores and many other small businesses. The opening of a zone 3 type of business would have a significant negative impact on all of these businesses and have detrimental effects for a lot of hard working and taxpaying Cranstonians.
For example, my mother has owned the gas station on 95 Warwick Avenue since 1995. As an immigrant to the United States and without an official degree, my mother and her former husband started this business with the few dollars that they had collected throughout their first jobs here.
Many years later, she is still running this business alone, as a single mom who has suffered tremendously and been through more than what is fathomable by most of us. A single mother, left with over a million dollars in debt from a gambling ex-husband, was forced to fight through the hard times alone and continue to work countless hours to support my brother and I, put us through school and provide for us in every capacity.
Today, over 10 years after her divorce, when her business is finally starting to generate a profit because she is not as suffocated with the debt that was forced upon her, there is an attempt to bring in a competing company that would definitely shut down her doors for good and destroy her years of hard work.
My mother and the other business owners in the neighborhood are people who came to this country with a dream and hope to succeed and create a better life for themselves and their families. We should be proud of them for the progress they have each made on their respective businesses and support them in their endeavors, not feed into big businesses bringing in $16 billion dollars of revenue a year.
Furthermore, stating the importance of focusing on our residents seems to not fit into this plan as well, when 40 homeowners will now be greatly affected by the building of this Cumberland Farms because of the drop in property value and loss of FHA/VA loan options, never mind the health risks their children will encounter, as well.
We are living in a time where the country is being divided based on the views of some against immigrants and their businesses. Let this be a prime example of what this country was built off of and how unification of immigrants and residents of a country this great can lead to a success of a community and nation.
Two years ago, we were in placed in a similar position; however our community came together and fought for the hard working individuals who own businesses and homes in the area. The council at the time felt compassion for them and stopped the ordinance from passing.
Today, I urge you, Mayor Fung, to listen to the community again and not fault them just because the owner of an underdeveloped property has failed to keep up with it and spend their time and energy to maintain a certain standard acceptable for the city, while the rest of the businesses have done so.