Twelve projects across six cities and towns will split $2.6 million in funding, made available by the 2016 Green Economy Bond. Supporting Governor Raimondo's commitment to clean energy, DEM selected one project that will become a solar farm and two projects with rooftop solar arrays. Another project will transform a dilapidated parking lot into a LEED-certified apartment building with a green roof to collect stormwater.
PROVIDENCE – A South Kingstown property that was once a waste disposal area can soon begin its transformation into a solar array capable of producing enough clean energy to power 610 homes, thanks to a $306,000 combination brownfield site assessment-redevelopment grant it will obtain from the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM).
Supporting the Raimondo Administration's commitment to Rhode Island producing 10 times as much clean energy and 20,000 clean energy jobs by 2020, the proposed waste disposal site-into-solar farm metamorphosis is one of 12 projects that DEM has approved for $2.6 million in grant awards through the 2018 Brownfields Remediation and Economic Development Fund Grant Round. Four out of the 12 selected projects have green energy characteristics. The 2016 Green Economy Bond, which RI voters passed by a 68%-32% margin and invested $5 million in incentivizing the redevelopment and productive reuse of polluted sites – known as brownfields – is the source of the money.
"When we're able to clean up brownfields while also increasing our commitment to renewable energy, that's progress we can all be proud of. Cleaning up contaminated brownfields sites is one of the smartest investments government can make," said Governor Gina Raimondo. "I'm committed to funding these projects quickly, and I look forward to the success stories that this latest round of funding will set into motion."
In all, 11 of the funded projects will create 598 construction jobs and 269 permanent jobs. The application for the first phase of the remediation of the Newport Grand property estimates that by itself, this project will generate 1,241 construction jobs and 565 permanent jobs. The projects also will unlock tens of millions of dollars in additional investments and promote smart growth by reclaiming and reusing valuable real estate.
"DEM significantly increased the emphasis on the green energy reuse option in the scoring criteria for this request for proposals. It's terrific to see that three of the projects feature solar arrays and one will become a LEED-certified building," DEM Director Janet Coit said. She noted that the 2018 Green Economy and Clean Water Bond – Question No. 3 on the November ballot – includes $4 million more to invest in brownfields cleanup. "Supporting Question 3 will continue our positive trajectory toward cleaning up our waterways and contaminated sites, preserving farmland and open space, and ensuring our state remains a healthy and wonderful place to live, work, visit, and raise a family," Coit said.
Brownfield Grants Fast Facts
• DEM is awarding 13 brownfields grants to 12 projects (1 site is getting 2 grants). • The projects are in Cranston, Newport, Pawtucket, Providence, Smithfield, and South Kingstown. • Green and clean: projects include 1 solar farm, 2 rooftop solar arrays, and 1 LEED-certified apartment building with a green roof to collect stormwater. • The grant awards total $2.6 million (the balance remaining from the 2016 Green Economy Bond). • Of the 13 grants, 3 are for site assessment and 10 are for redevelopment.
Project: Gravelly Hill Road Solar Array Address: Gravelly Hill Road, South Kingstown Grants: $56,000 site preparation/assessment and $250,000 remediation/redevelopment Description: Conversion of a property on which waste once was disposed to a 3,200-kilowatt solar farm. Annually, energy credits offered to area municipalities will save $290,000. The array also will produce energy for 610 homes and reduce as much greenhouse gas as would be reduced by removing 871 cars from the road. Jobs: 40 construction jobs, 2 permanent jobs
Project: Gotham Greens Providence LLC Address: 555 Harris Avenue, Providence Grant: $250,000 remediation/redevelopment Description: The developer is taking a former General Electric manufacturing facility that's been vacant for 2 years and turning it into a 96,000-square-foot, commercial-scale, climate-controlled greenhouse that will grow vegetables and herbs year-round to supply RI retail, restaurant, and institutional food service customers. Jobs: 100 construction jobs, 65 permanent jobs
Project: Tallman/Shri Address: 390-392 Pine Street, Pawtucket Grant: $250,000 remediation/redevelopment Description: A former mill will be cleaned up to help prepare the site for an intended subdivision and the sale of one building to Shri Studio, a yoga studio. Jobs: 21 construction jobs, 45 permanent jobs
Project: Fountain Street Apartments Address: 78 Fountain Street, Providence Grant: $250,000 remediation/redevelopment Description: Once the home of the Coffee King building and now a dilapidated parking lot with contaminated soils, this will become a 173,000-square-foot, mixed-use LEED-certified apartment building in Downtown Providence. It will have a green roof for stormwater. Jobs: 250 construction jobs, 90 permanent jobs
Project: The former Cranston Police Station Address: 275 Atwood Avenue, Cranston Grant: $400,000 remediation/redevelopment Description: Former solid waste dumping area that's slated to become a retail center. Jobs: 50 construction jobs, 40 permanent jobs
Project: Blackstone Pawtucket LLC Address: 59, 65, and 70 Blackstone Avenue, Pawtucket Grant: $198,317 remediation/redevelopment Description: Transforming a former textile manufacturing building into a mixed-use commercial- residential complex. Developer will expand the Blackstone River Bikeway on the property and install solar arrays on two of the building rooftops to offset electrical consumption. Jobs: 85 construction jobs, 20 permanent jobs
Project: Georgiaville Village Green Address: 29 Whipple Avenue, Smithfield Grant: $150,000 redevelopment Description: Once remediation is complete, the longtime site of the Narragansett Gray Iron Foundry will become 42 units of affordable family housing with a rooftop solar installation to offset utility costs. Jobs: 25 construction jobs, 1 permanent job
Project: Coffey's Texaco Address: 48 Touro Street, Newport Grant: $250,000 remediation/redevelopment Description: The site of a gas station that has already undergone major cleanups to remove underground storage tanks and remediate petroleum impacts will be turned into a public park with a historic marker. It's the original location of Newport Town Spring. Jobs: 20 construction jobs, 2 permanent jobs
Project: Newport Grand – Phase 1 Address: 150 Admiral Kalbfus Road, Newport Grant: $250,000 remediation/redevelopment Description: The property on which stood Newport Grand requires significant environmental remediation before it can be put into a marketable condition – and to prevent the site from slipping into blight or disrepair. Jobs: 1,241 construction jobs, 565 permanent jobs
Project: The Steel Yard Address: 27 Sims Avenue, Providence Grant: $150,000 remediation/redevelopment Description: This grant will help the nonprofit arts center and shared studio build on prior remediation work, upgrade its facility, and expand its many offerings to the public.
Project: Pilgrim Screw Address: 255 Dexter Street, Providence Grant: $100,000 site preparation and remediation Description: Converting a 30,000-square-foot building used to manufacture screws into a mixed-use commercial-residential reuse. Jobs: 4 construction jobs
Project: What Cheer Flower Farm Address: 46 Atwood Street, Providence Grant: $50,000 site preparation Description: This grant will allow the nonprofit farm to continue its "build-out" campaign, turning an abandoned factory into an urban farm and job-training center in the Olneyville neighborhood of Providence.
Excluding the most recent grant awardees, $7.4 million from DEM's Brownfields Remediation and Economic Development Fund has capitalized 33 projects in 12 communities across Rhode Island. This money has leveraged more than $630 million in other investment and supported around 5,000 jobs, helping build new schools, businesses, and affordable housing throughout the state.