Gov. Raimondo says development of former highway land could create jobs, keep college grads

Developing the former Interstate195 land is a chance to create jobs and convince recent college graduates to stay in Rhode Island, which is lagging behind other states in recovering from the recession, officials said Monday.

"We need to keep young people here," Raimondo said at the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission meeting, "and be more aggressive."

Raimondo and Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza gave opening remarks at the meeting, the commission's first since February. At that time, there was discussion of marketing some of the land as an "innovation center."

Since then, the new owners of the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox have expressed an interest in building a new baseball park on the land along the Providence River, though commission spokeswoman Dyana Koelsch has said commission members have not received a proposal from the team's owners.

There was no talk of a stadium at Monday's meeting — at least not in the open. The commission held a 30-minute closed session to discuss the "acquisition and disposition of public property," according to the public agenda. The commission did not vote on anything during the executive session, said chairman Joseph Azrack.

Instead, the meeting focused on Providence's zoning ordinance, and there was a short presentation by Lisa Pinsonneault of the Attorney General office on the state's open meeting laws.

The commission's next meeting is May 18.