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Public Forums to be Held to Hear What Rhode Islanders Have to Say about Living and Working in the State

Governor Lincoln D. Chafee announced that, as part of RhodeMap RI, the Rhode Island Division of Planning's Statewide Planning Program is sponsoring four public forums to get feedback from Rhode Islanders about their experiences living and working in the state, as well as their vision for building a strong future for Rhode Island.

"This is a chance for all Rhode Island residents and business owners to learn about RhodeMap RI, but most importantly, it is a chance for us to hear about the opportunities and challenges they face every day," said Governor Chafee. "We want all our cities and towns to be thriving and successful."

The feedback from these forums will be used to shape new state policies for economic development, housing, environmental protection and land use.

Those who attend will be asked about the opportunities they have had starting a new business, finding a home in a safe and affordable neighborhood, or getting education or training for a good-paying job. They will also be able to talk about obstacles to keeping their business up and running or providing for their families.

"The purpose of RhodeMap RI is to address these goals for all our residents while revitalizing our communities and protecting our natural environment," stated Kevin M. Flynn Associate Director of the RI Division of Planning. "This project will create strategic plans to address these issues over the next year and input from our residents and business owners is crucial to our success."

All the forums will be held from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. You do not need to register for these events. The public can drop in any time to visit the open house and still give input and get information about RhodeMap RI. The formal program begins at 6:00 p.m. with small group discussions starting at 6:30 p.m. Light fare and refreshments will be served, and translation and child care services will be available.

Each forum will present the same information, so members of the public can pick the location most convenient for them. The public forums will be:

Monday, August 5 The Depot, One Depot Square, Woonsocket, RI

Tuesday, August 6 Roger Williams University, Global Heritage Hall, One Old Ferry Road, Bristol, RI

Wednesday, August 7 University of Rhode Island, Memorial Student Union, 45 Upper College Road, Kingston, RI

Thursday, August 8 East Providence Senior Center, 610 Waterman Avenue, East Providence, RI

For more information, contact Melanie Army, Supervising Planner at Rhode Island Division of Planning, at or (401) 222-6183.

About RhodeMap RI RhodeMap RI is one component of Governor Chafee's broader efforts to bring a coordinated and forward-looking approach to the State's efforts to make Rhode Island a better place to work and live. Prior to Governor Chafee taking office, the state did not have a truly coordinated plan for economic development, housing, transportation and land use. To achieve this level of integration, the focus issues of the project will be broad, including investment in education, sound infrastructure, and workforce development and training. Support for local communities and making the state and local tax bases strong will be a high priority for RhodeMap RI. And we recognize that our success will require building on our economic assets to foster the growth of business at every scale.

RhodeMap RI will build upon the work already completed by the Chafee Administration. Rhode Island released the initial results of the project in February when it issued the Economy Rhode Island and An Equity Profile of Rhode Island reports, which analyze Rhode Island's demographics, business climate and economic competitiveness. These reports can be viewed by visiting the RhodeMap RI website at The Department of Administration's Division of Planning expects to complete the planning process, which will include extensive public engagement, in 2014. The final year of the initiative will focus on implementation planning and capacity building for Rhode Island municipalities, state agencies and community partners. RhodeMap RI is funded with a Sustainable Communities Initiative Grant and Rhode Island is the only state in the nation that received this grant.

About the Sustainable Communities Initiative Grant The grant is one of several offered through the Federal Partnership for Sustainable Communities, a collaboration of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Department of Transportation. The Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant Program supports metropolitan and multi-jurisdictional planning efforts that integrate housing, land use, economic and workforce development, transportation, and infrastructure investments in a manner that empowers jurisdictions to consider the interdependent challenges of: (1) economic competitiveness and revitalization; (2) social equity, inclusion, and access to opportunity; (3) energy use and climate change; and (4) public health and environmental impact. The Sustainable Communities Program is coordinated by HUD's Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities, whose mission is to create strong, sustainable communities by connecting housing to jobs, fostering local innovation and helping to build a clean energy economy. Rhode Island will develop the comprehensive, integrated plan through an inclusive public process with an eye towards positive and equitable impacts for all Rhode Islanders. The grant consortium is composed of state agencies, business leaders, residents, municipal leaders and non-profit organizations.

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