Providence, RI - Governor Lincoln Chafee announced today that he is making a $250,000 grant available to the 195 Redevelopment Commission through the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation (RIEDC). The grant will provide the Commission with the necessary operating funds to begin the next stages of its work, including engineering planning and environmental impact analysis.
"The successful development of the 195 land is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to bring new, high-paying jobs to Rhode Island," said Governor Lincoln Chafee. "Rhode Island has an unprecedented chance to build on our medical, research, and educational institutions – the 'meds and eds' – to grow our knowledge economy. This grant is another engine to jump-start the job creators who will be making the Knowledge District a hub of activity and economic growth."
Since the Commission's inception in 2011, members have held seven public meetings to discuss critical next steps in redeveloping the land made available following the relocation of I-195. The Commission has addressed organizational structure, the potential impacts of Providence's new city zoning, and land use requirements through the legislation and federal agreements.
The 195 Commission did not have a funding source when it was originally created. Through his leadership and prioritization of economic development projects, Governor Chafee identified a funding source that would have no risk to tax-payers. The RIEDC, through its FY2012 appropriation and program realignment, is able to provide the $250,000, which will be repaid to the RIEDC in the spring of 2012 from the anticipated proceeds of the bond sale for the 195 land.
"This investment in the redevelopment of the 195 parcels is a critical first milestone towards success of the project. The 195 Redevelopment Commission appreciates the Governor's leadership and commitment to making the 195 corridor a catalyst for economic development, and is confident that the project will have a significant impact on the future of Rhode Island and the City of Providence," said Colin Kane, Chairman of the 195 Redevelopment Commission.
One of Governor Chafee's top economic development priorities since taking office has been the development of the valuable land opened up by the relocation of I-195 in downtown Providence. The Governor has led Rhode Island delegations on three fact-finding trips to Houston, Baltimore, and Pittsburgh, three cities that have successfully developed urban areas centered around educational institutions and the medical, research, and life-sciences industries.
Growth of the Knowledge District is already taking shape. Last year alone, Brown University opened the doors to its new Warren Alpert Medical School facility, bringing 400 students and 50 faculty members to the area; Hasbro announced its expansion into Providence, with an estimated 284 new jobs over the next several years; and 38 Studios relocated from Maynard, MA, generating more than 250 new jobs in Rhode Island.