Friday, April 25, 2014

Restoring Smith Hill: A Tale of Dreams and Muscle

On Sunday, May 4 at 6 p.m., Rhode Island PBS presents Restoring Smith Hill as part of Rhode Island Stories. 

Restoring Smith Hill showcases the extraordinary success of the work by the Smith Hill Community Development Corporation(CDC). The Smith Hill CDC has taken foreclosed houses in the area and turned the blight into safe, affordable housing.

Filmmaker J. Henry Smith packs a lot of information and emotion into his 20 minutes behind the camera.Currently a graduate student at Providence College, Smith decided to document the practical and touching stories about Smith Hill CDC after witnessing transformation firsthand: Smith's father Francis Smith is the executive director of the Smith Hill CDC.

Restoring Smith Hill reveals a key element that sets these projects apart: the old homes are not demolished; they are restored, which preserves the historic and architectural character of the neighborhood. The neighborhood may have been established a hundred years ago, but the demographics have changed significantly. To cultivate feelings of belonging and ownership among residents, the film shows young residents recruited to care for things like tree pits and litter, eliciting appreciation from other residents, and fostering greater engagement and a sense of community. The film also shares intimate profiles of some of the newer residents who have moved into the restored living spaces - these profiles are among the most moving moments of the film.

Restoring Smith Hill makes a good case for partnership between the private and public sectors, resulting in optimal outcomes of the investment in neighborhoods and in people.

Providence College Annex
As the film airs on Rhode Island PBS, Smith will screen his film at a reception at the Providence College Annex on Douglas Avenue, another example of reclamation and revitalization in the Smith Hill neighborhood.

After the May 4 debut at 6 p.m., Restoring Smith Hill will encore on WSBE Rhode Island PBS: 
May 6 at 4 a.m.
May 10 at 11 p.m.

Restoring Smith Hill will air on WSBE Learn:
May 6 at 8 p.m.
May 7 at 3 a.m.
May 8 at midnight



WSBE Rhode Island PBS transmits standard-definition (SD) and high-definition (HD) programming over the air on digital 36.1; on Rhode Island cable services: Cox 08 / 1008HD, Verizon FiOS 08 / 508HD, Full Channel 08; on Massachusetts cable services: Comcast 819HD, Verizon 18 / 518HD; on satellite: DirecTV 36 / 3128HD, Dish Network 36.

WSBE Learn transmits over the air on digital 36.2; on cable: Cox 808, Verizon 478, Full Channel 89, Comcast 294 or 312.