$2 million in funding – capitalized by the 2018 Green Economy Bond, which was approved by nearly 80% of voters – is the essential early money that will help transform often-blighted industrial sites "into productive, cleaner spaces today and into the future."
PROVIDENCE – As part of continued efforts to grow Rhode Island's green economy, Governor Gina M. Raimondo and the Department of Environmental Management (DEM) today announced the award of $2 million in matching grants under the Brownfields Remediation and Economic Development Fund. Nine projects across four cities and towns will receive funding, made available by the 2018 Green Economy Bond, which Rhode Island voters approved by nearly an 80%-20% margin last November.
Brownfields occupy many acres of desirable commercial and industrial space within the state's urban corridors. Remediation and redevelopment of these sites not only mitigates the threat to public health and the environment from exposure to uncontrolled contamination, but also creates and attracts jobs, helps small businesses, revitalizes streets and neighborhoods, increases the community tax base, and supports RI's commitment to producing 10 times as much clean energy by 2020.
"Investing in the cleanup and redevelopment of brownfields creates jobs, accelerates economic growth, and promotes healthy communities," said Governor Gina M. Raimondo. "Thanks to funding from the 2018 Green Economy Bond, we're making great strides transforming contaminated brownfields sites into productive, cleaner spaces today and into the future."
In all, the nine funded projects will create 1,016 construction jobs and 111 permanent jobs. The projects also will unlock $91.48 million in additional investments and promote smart growth by reclaiming and reusing valuable real estate.
Brownfield Grants Fast Facts
• DEM is awarding 9 brownfields grants for projects in Providence, Scituate, West Warwick, and Woonsocket. • Of the 9 grants, 1 is for site preparation and 8 are for redevelopment.
"Today's grant awards illustrate the power of government, private industry, and nonprofit groups working together to create healthier, more vibrant communities and city centers," said DEM Director Janet Coit. "The vast array of projects funded by brownfields grants supports our quality of life and will pay dividends for years to come by redeveloping valuable real estate in communities across Rhode Island. I look forward to the success stories that our latest round of funding will set into motion."
Project: MSC Realty/Meeting Street Address: 946 Eddy Street, Providence Grants: $300,000 remediation/redevelopment Description: The former National Plating Inc. site has been graded and is ready for construction of Meeting Street's new Early Childhood Center. The project returns a blighted, long- abandoned property to beneficial public use and to the city tax rolls. Jobs: 100 construction jobs, 50 permanent jobs
Project: What Cheer Flower Farm Address: 28 Agnes Street & 46 Atwood Street, Providence Grant: $195,000 redevelopment 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. Jobs: 35 construction jobs, 20 permanent jobs
Project: West Elmwood Housing Address: 34 Fuller Street & 37 Westfield Street, Providence Grant: $205,000 redevelopment Description: A vacant lot will be cleaned up to help prepare the site for an intended compost facility for the residents of Westfield Lofts and Sankofa Residential Housing Development. Jobs: 15 construction jobs, 3 permanent jobs
Project: Community Music Works Address: 1326 Westminster Street, Providence Grant: $300,000 redevelopment Description: The developer is constructing Community Music Works headquarters on a capped site near Artillery Park/Dexter Park on the West Side of Providence and hopes to incorporate renewable energy sources in the new building. Community Music Works receives annual program support from the RI State Council on the Arts, Providence Department of Arts, Culture and Tourism, National Endowment for the Arts, and Community Development Block grants. Jobs: 90 construction jobs, 10 permanent jobs
Project: Paramount Apartments Address: 5 Main Street, Scituate Grant: $100,000 site preparation Description: The former Hope Mill parcel will be cleaned up to help prepare the site for planned affordable multifamily housing and market value housing. Jobs: 420 construction jobs, 2 permanent jobs
Project: Evolution Mills Address: 65 Manchester Street, West Warwick Grant: $100,000 redevelopment Description: Funding to continue ongoing rehabilitation of an old mill complex to create more office, retail, function, and artist spaces and add residential areas. Jobs: 30 construction jobs, 10 permanent jobs
Project: Natick Dam Hydroelectric Address: 649 Providence Street, West Warwick Grant: $300,000 redevelopment Description: The developer will excavate, dispose of contaminated soil, and cap this blighted site to allow for construction of a hydroelectric dam that is expected to generate 1,700 megawatt hours of electricity a year. Jobs: 10 construction jobs, 1 permanent job
Project: Neighborworks – 15 Island Place Address: 15 Island Place, Woonsocket Grant: $250,000 redevelopment Description: The developer is transforming a three-story former mill into a mixed-use complex with commercial/retail/office space on the first floor and 14 one-bedroom residential units that will be offered to low-income populations. This site is being redeveloped together with the mill at 68 South Main Street as one large, mixed-use redevelopment project. As part of the project, 5,000 feet of green space and a walking path will be constructed along the Blackstone River. Jobs: 158 construction jobs, 8 permanent jobs
Project: Neighborworks – 68 South Main Street Address: 68 South Main Street, Woonsocket Grant: $250,000 redevelopment Description: The developer is transforming a former mill into a mixed-use complex with commercial/retail/office space on the first floor, along with 50 one-bedroom residential units that will be offered to low-income populations, and six studio apartments. This site is being redeveloped together with the mill at 15 Island Place as one large, mixed-use redevelopment project. As part of the project, 5,000 feet of green space and a walking path will be constructed along the Blackstone River. Jobs: 158 construction jobs, 7 permanent jobs
Excluding the most recent grant awardees, $10 million from DEM's Brownfields Remediation and Economic Development Fund has capitalized 45 projects in 14 communities across Rhode Island. This money has leveraged more than $740 million in other investment and supported around 6,900 jobs, helping build new schools, businesses, affordable housing, and green energy projects throughout the state.
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, an estimated 7.3 jobs are supported per $100,000 spent on brownfield redevelopment.