PROVIDENCE – As part of her continued efforts to grow Rhode Island's green economy, Governor Gina Raimondo joined First Gentleman Andy Moffit, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) and other partners today at a rally in support of the Green Economy Bond. The $35 million bond on November's ballot provides funding to improve state and local recreational facilities; preserve open space; address stormwater; and clean up former industrial "brownfield" sites for redevelopment. As part of the event, over $4 million was awarded in matching recreation grants to 18 Rhode Island communities.
"As Rhode Islanders, we love our Bay, beaches, and parks. And we know their value to our state," said Raimondo. "These features are at the heart of why people choose to live, work and visit Rhode Island – and why businesses choose to locate here. Continuing to invest in these assets and creating safe, modern recreational facilities in our communities are critical to moving our state forward. I'm thrilled to join with business, community and government leaders to kick off the Green Economy Bond campaign with this grant announcement so we can continue to build on our strengths, attract additional investment, and create jobs."
"Having safe, accessible places to get outdoors and get active is so important for our state and families," said First Gentleman Andy Moffit, chair of the Green Economy Bond Honorary Committee and Rhode Island Outdoor Recreation Council. "It drives our economy and supports our quality of life. And there is work to do to ensure that all Rhode Islanders have access to these facilities. The Green Economy Bond, and the community recreation grants funded through it, is key to expanding Rhode Island's network of outstanding parks, bikeways, and green spaces. And I encourage all Rhode Islanders to show their support for Question 6 this November."
Earlier this year, Raimondo established the Rhode Island Outdoor Recreation Council by Executive Order in an effort to promote growth of outdoor recreation in the state. Rhode Island's outdoor recreation industry is an increasingly important part of our state's economy, contributing an estimated $2.4 billion annually and supporting 24,000 jobs. As part of a larger network of recreational opportunities in the state, municipal facilities play an important role in beautifying communities, supporting public health, and promoting a cleaner environment. Since the inception of DEM's community recreation grant program in 1988, 427 grants have been awarded and $66 million invested in improvements in all 39 Rhode Island communities.
"The energy and excitement were palpable at today's rally," said DEM Director Janet Coit. "Standing amidst so many supporters and surrounded by beautiful trees, a scenic river, and families riding along the bikepath, you can see and appreciate the value of environmental bonds. Not long ago, an abandoned factory stood on this same ground. With the help of brownfields and community recreation grant funding, both of which are included in the Green Economy Bond, the site will soon be transformed into an adventure park for families to enjoy. Amazing! And similar efforts are happening all across our state. Congratulations to today's grant recipients. We look forward to continuing to work together to put these state bond funds to good use and to create inviting places for families to be active and connect with nature."
This year's community recreation grant recipients include:
Bristol - $23,440 Upgrades to Legion Square Park
Burrillville - $400,000 Expand Oakland-Mapleville Bike Path
Central Falls - $75,000 Purchase land for new soccer field (1304 High St.)
East Greenwich - $120,000 New kayak launch and upgrades to Town Dock
East Providence - $96,000 Upgrades to Central Avenue Park
Hopkinton - $500,000 Upgrades to Langworthy Field and Depot Square Park
Jamestown - $500,000 Updates to Lawn Avenue Recreation Area and the Community Playground
Johnston - $80,000 Update tennis courts at Johnston Memorial Park
Newport - $100,000 Updates to Miantonomi Park-North Providence - $400,000 New amphitheatre at Governor Notte Park
North Smithfield - $53,440 Upgrades to the Municipal Annex Playground
Pawtucket - $50,000 New public access area at East Street Pocket Park
Providence - $494,800 New Teen Adventure Park and Joslin Sprayground
Tiverton - $393,237 Upgrades to Grinnell's Beach
Warren - $63,481 Update tennis courts at Burr's Hill Park
Warwick - $450,000 Updates to Rocky Point Park and City Park
West Warwick - $100,000 New, accessible Civic Center Playground & Orchard
Woonsocket - $388,000 Updates to Cass Park
The grants, which require a community match of 20 percent for development projects and 50 percent for acquisition projects, are funded through 2014 open space bond proceeds. As part of today's announcement, an additional $2.165 million was conditionally awarded to six communities, pending passage of the 2016 Green Economy Bond. Applications were evaluated and scored by the Rhode Island Recreation Resources Review Committee, consisting of government and non-profit members, using the Open Project Selection Process (OPSP) developed under the 2009 Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan.
Today's rally, which officially kicked off the #YesOn6RI campaign, was held at the future home of Providence's Teen Adventure Park. The property, formerly the site of Lincoln Lace & Braid Factory, is a capped brownfield along the Woonasquatucket River that will be transformed into an extreme cycling park. As part of today's festivities, local cycling enthusiasts greeted the crowd with a demonstration of their sports: BMX, Cyclocross and Parkour.
Yes On 6 partners include Aquidneck Island Planning Commission, Audubon Society of Rhode Island, Bike Newport, Blackstone Valley Tourism Council, Build Rhode Island, City of Central Falls, Clean Water Action, Coggeshall Farm Museum, Discover Newport, Gilbane Building Company, GrowSmartRI, Ocean Community Chamber of Commerce, Rhode Island Bicycle Coalition, Rhode Island Building Trades, Rhode Island Department of Health, Rhode Island Land Trust Council, Rhode Island Recreation & Parks Association, Save The Bay, The Nature Conservancy, and the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council. Twenty-four Rhode Island communities have passed resolutions in support of the bond. For a complete list and/or to download a factsheet on the Green Economy Bond, visit www.YesOn6RI.com. Join the social conversation by using #YesOn6RI.
For more information on DEM programs and initiatives, visit www.dem.ri.gov. Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RhodeIslandDEM or on Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM) for timely updates.