New England Patriots wide receiver Danny Amendola is catching grief from his neighbors over a temporary carport.
Amendola erected the metal structure behind his 1774 home in Providence’s College Hill Historic District last month so that he can get to practice on time in a snowstorm. The home sits on Benefit Street, a hillside thoroughfare filled with colorful restored clapboard homes featured on countless postcards. Neighbors complain the carport is a blemish on the community’s atmosphere.
Amendola declined to comment on the complaints, telling The Associated Press, "I’m not talking about that."
He is renting the home and applied to the city last month for permission to erect the carport for the duration of the season. It is supposed to come down in February.
In the meantime, neighbors see an eyesore.
"It’s a simple utilitarian structure, but if you had tons of these around the neighborhood, it would significantly detract from the historic quality and aesthetic appearance of the Benefit Street neighborhood," said Tim More, who has lived on the street for 45 years.
Several Patriots players live in Providence, which is closer to Gillette Stadium than Boston is. As far as the neighbors know, Amendola is the only Patriot in memory to live on College Hill. Houses sit tightly together here, sometimes just inches from each other. The neighborhood once attracted professors at Brown University or Rhode Island School of Design and has evolved into a real estate hotbed with multimillion-dollar properties.
It also can be tough to get out of the driveway. Ray Rickman, who has lived up the hill from Amendola’s house for 31 years, says he was unable to get his car out three times last winter.
But he wondered why Amendola couldn’t just do what he does: buy a $40 canvas to put over his car and rely on a neighbor with snow-removal equipment to dig him out. Or better yet, hire a snow-removal service. Amendola signed a $28.5 million, five-year contract with the Patriots in 2013.
Annoying his neighbors might be a better option than being late to practice.
Jonas Gray ran for four touchdowns in one game as a rookie in 2014. The next week, he overslept because his phone battery died and he missed practice. He was benched for a week.
Four players also were sent home after arriving late in a December 2009 snowstorm. Linebacker Adalius Thomas said: "What do you do? It’s not the Jetsons, I can’t jump up and just fly."
Rickman, a former member of the city’s Historic District Commission, says it’s important for area residents to see themselves as stewards of properties that will be there for generations.
"Wealthy people like to buy things and have their way," Rickman said. "Historic districts are fragile."
Still he calls it a "minor sin" that will soon be fixed when the season is over and the carport removed. And he said he is thrilled that Amendola is living down the street.
"I hope that he’ll stay. This city needs celebrities," Rickman said. "I think it’s cool. I think it would cooler if Tom Brady lived here. I would offer to help him shovel his snow."
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