Projects Support Rhode Island's Economy and Environment by Revitalizing Communities and Creating Jobs
PROVIDENCE – The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM) is soliciting proposals for brownfields site redevelopment projects that will support the cleanup of contaminated property and contribute to the state's economic vitality. Five million dollars in grant funding, which supports an estimated 365 local jobs, is available over the next four years through the new Brownfields Remediation and Economic Development Fund. Rhode Island voters approved creation of the Fund with the passage of the 2014 Clean Water, Open Space, and Healthy Communities Bond. The application deadline is October 26, 2015.
"Rhode Islanders deserve a strong economy and a healthy environment," said Governor Gina Raimondo. "The projects funded by these grants will help move Rhode Island forward by opening up valuable real estate for development, cleaning up contamination, attracting jobs, and promoting public health."
Expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of brownfields – which are now abandoned vestiges of Rhode Island's industrial heritage – may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of environmental contamination. It is estimated that Rhode Island has between 10,000 to 12,000 brownfields sites – many of which occupy desirable commercial and industrial space within the state's urban corridor. Remediation and redevelopment of these sites not only reduces the threat to public health and the environment from exposure to uncontrolled contamination, but it also creates and attracts jobs, revitalizes neighborhoods, and increases the local tax base. The Environmental Protection Agency's Brownfields program estimates that 7.3 jobs are supported per $100,000 spent on brownfields redevelopment; based on this formula, the Brownfields Remediation and Economic Development Fund grants will support an estimated 365 jobs in Rhode Island.
"We look forward to partnering with successful applicants on this new grant opportunity," said DEM Director Janet Coit. "Transforming these former industrial sites into productive properties protects the environment and strengthens communities."
The grant program provides funding support and technical assistance to facilitate the return of brownfields to productive re-use. Grant funding will cover 80 percent of a project's cost; a 20 percent match is required. Four categories of grants are available, including pre-development planning, site preparation, redevelopment, and small business assistance grants.
• Pre-development planning grants of up to $20,000 are available for determining the feasibility of a brownfields redevelopment project. These grants can be used for the initial efforts to build off past site investigations and assessment work to determine the options and costs of remediation and/or the development of a brownfields site, and development of marketing and public outreach plans.
• Site preparation grants of up to $100,000 are available for sites that have already been identified as a brownfield based on previous site investigation work, but lack an approved Remedial Action Work Plan (RAWP). These grants can be used to fill gaps that exist in previously-obtained site investigation data and to develop and analyze potential remedial strategies necessary for an approved RAWP.
• Redevelopment grants of up to $500,000 are available for brownfield sites that already have completed and approved site investigations and an approved RAWP and Remedial Approval Letter or Order of Approval issued by RIDEM. Redevelopment grants will fund the remediation and redevelopment of a brownfields site to bring the site into productive reuse.
• Small business assistance grants of up to $50,000 are available for those small businesses that are currently located on a brownfields site but lack the resources to address contamination. These grants will provide the capital needed to investigate and clean up the site in a manner protective of public health and the environment; this simultaneously restores the value of the underlying property and supports the long-term financial viability of the existing business.
An informational workshop on this grant opportunity is scheduled for Wednesday, September 30 in Room 300 at DEM Headquarters at 235 Promenade Street in Providence from 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Final proposals and supporting materials must be submitted to RIDEM's Office of Waste Management by 4 p.m. on Monday, October 26. Applicants are encouraged to submit applications electronically to Matthew DeStefano at email@example.com. Proposals may also be mailed to the RIDEM Permit Application Center, 235 Promenade Street, Second Floor, Providence, RI 02908. Government and non-profit agencies, along with private/non-government entities, are eligible to apply. Selection of sites will be determined on a competitive basis.
For more information on this grant opportunity, contact Matthew DeStefano at 401-222-4700, ext. 7141 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Request for Proposals can be found online at http://www.dem.ri.gov/programs/benviron/waste/pdf/bbrfp15.pdf.