The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM) today announced the award of $1.3 million in matching grants under the Brownfields Remediation and Economic Development Fund. Nine projects, spread across six communities, are receiving funding to clean up contaminated property and promote redevelopment - particularly along the state's urban corridor. According to grantee estimates, the grants support nearly 1,000 new jobs.
"This news is good for Rhode Islanders, good for the environment, and good for business," said Governor Gina M. Raimondo. "Many of the brownfields in Rhode Island sit on valuable real estate. Investing in their cleanup and redevelopment pays huge dividends for our state by accelerating economic growth, creating jobs, and promoting healthier, more vibrant neighborhoods and city centers. These projects are a great example of how government, community groups, and private industry can work together to move our state forward. I am grateful to all partners involved."
Redevelopment of brownfields – which are vestiges of Rhode Island's industrial heritage – may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of environmental contamination. The Brownfields Remediation and Economic Development Fund helps communities and private organizations accelerate cleanup efforts and promote smart growth. Already this year, 14 projects – funded under an earlier $3.7 million grant round – have begun work on 98 acres of brownfields. The grants leveraged over $418 million in additional investment in these projects and support more than 2,700 jobs. Since 1995, some 770 brownfields sites, spanning 5,500 acres, have been cleaned up with assistance from DEM.
"We are pleased to announce these awards and continue our work to transform brownfields into productive spaces that benefit our state and families," said DEM Director Janet Coit. "Decades of effort have gone into improving the health of our lands and waters, and we are making good progress. But the work is far from over. There are hundreds of brownfields across Rhode Island. Continuing to invest in their cleanup is critical. It strengthens our resilience, supports our quality of life, and helps attract people and businesses to locate here. Congratulations to all grant recipients. We look forward to celebrating the success of these projects."
Grants for site preparation and site redevelopment were awarded. Site preparation grants support data gathering and analysis and/or development of a cleanup plan for a known brownfield. Site redevelopment grants support both development and remediation for sites with approved cleanup plans.
Site preparation grant recipients include:
Farm Fresh - $71,720 4 Sims Avenue, Providence
Pontiac Mills - $100,000 334 Knight Street, Warwick
Redevelopment grant recipients include:
Bay Spring - $200,000 90 Bay Spring Avenue, Barrington
Central Falls Landing - $100,000 1420 Broad Street, Central Falls
Chestnut Commons - $100,000 I-195 Parcel 30, Providence
East Street Park - $40,000 East Street, Pawtucket
Georgiaville Village - $200,000 29 Whipple Avenue, Smithfield
Parcel 8 /I-195 - $250,000 45 Pike Street, Providence
Trinity 60 King - $250,000 60 King Street, Providence
Rhode Island voters approved creation of the Brownfields Remediation and Economic Development Fund with the passage of the 2014 Clean Water, Open Space, and Healthy Communities Bond. Five million dollars in brownfields funding is included in the 2016 Green Economy Bond passed last month.
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.