************Let us know your thoughts on how you found the Insider and if it has been helpful over the last four years!! ************
Tomorrow, March 23, the Rhode Island Insider will celebrate it’s fourth birthday. I am so proud of what this blog and its readers have done to help amplify and start the conversation of revitalizing RIA NE.
My partner and I moved to the Woodridge area of RIA NE, living one block in from the Avenue’s Main Street, because we loved the potential of what it could become. For more than a year of not really having anywhere to meet our neighbors, engage the City in a meaningful conversation about bringing economic development to RIA NE, or holding our elected officials to account for paying attention to what was suppose to be the “Diamond of the District”, we bought our domain name and got started to get the conversation going with this first blog post on March 23, 2009.
The Rhode Island Insider has been home to bringing information of new businesses, happenings, and efforts to revitalize the Avenue to the area. We have grown to have more than 300-400 visitors on a daily basis (even more when I get around to posting something new), and nearly 800 followers on Twitter and nearly 350 likes on Facebook.
But it wasn’t just the conversations. Back in the summer of 2011, me, my partner (Daniel), Stephanie Liotta Atkinson, Sara and Garret Thayer, and James Holloway, connected through this blog and agreed to meet to discuss how we can make a difference offline. From that initial meeting at San Antonio’s Restaurant, the Friends of RIA NE (FoRIA) was formed. Starting out as a grassroots neighborhood group, it has grown to become a non-profit organization with hundreds of members. And yes, it is still a organization focused on the same ideals that this blog started with: revitalize RIA NE from the grassroots level. (and you wonder why I like that organization so much on this blog! 🙂 ) If you aren’t a member yet, you should be!! They are one of the main reasons so many great things are opening up on the Avenue today!
From DC UrbanTurf article: “The activism found a forum on the Rhode Island Insider blog, which attracted readers who saw the potential of the neighborhood and were anxious to see it realized sooner rather than later. Commenters kept chiming in to ask when things would change, said Atkinson, and eventually they decided to meet in person. “There was no concentrated voice of neighbors saying ‘this needs to happen’, so we started Friends of Rhode Island Avenue (FoRIA),” remembers Atkinson.”
The energy and enthusiasm since 2009 to today has been tremendous and it is because residents and readers like yourselves are talking, engaging, and continuing the conversation about an Avenue we can all enjoy! From the bottom of my heart, thank you for the support and continued reading/comments of this blog!! (and for letting me know when I’ve gotten lazy and I haven’t posted something in a while….)
For four years, we have had some great conversations with all of you and many of you have become some great friends. I look forward to the next four years and beyond! So much great stuff happening along the Avenue!