fb-pixel Skip to main content

All eyes will be on the Johnston-Amazon deal tonight

An Amazon Fulfillment Center in North Las Vegas.John Locher/Associated Press

This article originally appeared in the Rhode Map newsletter. If you would like to get the newsletter as a convenient e-mail Monday through Friday, just sign up here.

Happy Wednesday! I’m Dan McGowan and I’m on a quest to find the best pumpkin pie in Rhode Island. Follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan or send tips to Dan.McGowan@globe.com.

Coronavirus updates

Rhode Island has a high level of transmission: 236.3 total new cases per 100K population in the past 7 days

Fully vaccinated: 698,528 (of about 1.1 million residents)

New cases: 389

Test-positive rate: 3.4 percent

Currently hospitalized: 114

Total deaths: 2,808

More stats from the R.I. Department of Health


Globe Rhode Island COVID-19 news and resources

Subscribe to our Coronavirus Next newsletter

Leading off

The Johnston Town Council meets Wednesday for a public hearing and potential vote to approve several agreements that would allow Amazon to build a 3.8 million-square-foot robotics sortable fulfillment center off Hartford Avenue.

It has been an open secret for most of 2021 that Amazon was in talks with Mayor Joe Polisena’s office about building a warehouse in town, and the e-commerce giant recently confirmed that it does, indeed, want to move forward with its plan to spend $290 million on the facility and hire at least 1,500 workers.

But first, the council has to vote on several resolutions related to the project, including a 20-year tax deal that would require Amazon to pay an average of $7.2 million a year in property tax (tax stabilization agreements allow companies to pay less tax at first, but gradually increase their payments each year).

The council is also considering a “community partnership agreement” that would require Amazon to fund road improvements, purchase bus passes for employees, pay for a career pathway program at Johnston High School, commit more than $5.3 million to public safety programs, and donate $50,000 to youth sports programs and $100,000 to the senior center.


Other resolutions to be considered Wednesday night are related to the construction side of the project.

Amazon has faced criticism in other states about its treatment of workers, and it could face opposition from politicians in Rhode Island who believe that a company this profitable doesn’t deserve a tax break from the town. But it’s unlikely that there is enough momentum to kill the project.

The meeting is at 7 p.m. in the Johnston High School Auditorium.

The Globe in Rhode Island

⚓ My latest: What does state Treasurer Seth Magaziner have to do to be Rhode Island’s next governor? Read more.

⚓ Governor Dan McKee is defending why a new consulting firm landed a state contract worth more than $5 million to help reopen Rhode Island’s schools this fall after facing political backlash over the decision. Read more.

⚓ Narragansett is prohibiting more than three college students from living in one home. Now a lawsuit is probably coming. Read more.

⚓ Baby Shark, just a few weeks old but already 3 1/2 feet long, was tagged with an acoustic transmitter in late August in Block Island Sound by researchers with the Atlantic Shark Institute and O’Seas Conservation Foundation. Read more.

Also in the Globe

⚓ Boston City Councilors Michelle Wu and Annissa Essaibi George have advanced to the November election in the race for mayor. Read more.

⚓ The Boston election was not supposed to end this way. But as Tuesday night came to a close, the harsh reality that many people in the Black community had hoped they would not face became crystal clear: There will be no Black mayoral candidate in the general election. Read more.


⚓ Brown University graduate Larry Elder is not going to be California’s next governor, as Gavin Newsom survived a recall. Read more.

What’s on tap today

E-mail events to us at RInews@globe.com.

BIRTHDAYS: Rhode Map readers, if you want a friend or family member to be recognized on Friday, send me an e-mail with their first and last name, and their age.

⚓ State Representative Gregg Amore will launch his campaign for secretary of state at 3 p.m. in front of the new East Providence High School.

⚓ Governor McKee and Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos will be in Johnston to push school communities and student athletes to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

My previous column

I spent my summer trying to hit my goal of breaking 90 on the golf course. It was frustrating, confusing, and expensive, but I somehow pulled it off. If you missed the column, you can read it here. And all of my columns are on our Rhode Island Commentary page.

Rhode Island Report podcast

Brian Amaral talks to Brown University professor Baylor Fox-Kemper about rising sea levels and the impact on Rhode Island. Listen to all of our podcasts here.

Boston Globe App

You can get alerts about Rhode Island news on the Globe’s app (iOS and Android). Just tap the gear icon, then “Edit Alert Settings,” and choose Rhode Island.


Thanks for reading. Send comments and suggestions to dan.mcgowan@globe.com, or follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan. See you tomorrow.

Please tell your friends about Rhode Map! They can sign up here. The Globe has other e-mail newsletters on topics ranging from breaking news alerts to sports, politics, business, and entertainment —  check them out.

Dan McGowan can be reached at dan.mcgowan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @danmcgowan.