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DEM Announces New Round of Brownfields Grant Awards

PROVIDENCE Governor Gina M. Raimondo and the Department of Environmental Management (DEM) today announce the award of $3.26 million in matching grants under the Brownfields Remediation and Economic Development Fund. Thirteen projects across seven cities and towns will receive funding, made possible by the 2018 Green Economy Bond.

Polluted industrial sites, known as brownfields, occupy many acres of desirable commercial and industrial space within the state's urban corridors. Remediation and reuse of these sites not only mitigate threats to public health and the environment from exposure to uncontrolled contamination, but also create and attract jobs, support small businesses, revitalize streets and neighborhoods, and increase the community tax base.

"Investing in the cleanup and redevelopment of brownfields creates jobs, spurs economic growth, and promotes healthy communities," said Governor Raimondo. "These grant awards are particularly well-timed to help stimulate our economy, putting Rhode Islanders back to work on shovel-ready projects."

"The community cleanups and investments made possible by brownfields grants underscore the power of the green economy bonds that finance them," said DEM Director Janet Coit. "From protecting the environment to supporting economic development to strengthening our resiliency in the face of climate change to upgrading critical clean water infrastructure, green bonds improve the lives of every Rhode Islander. This is why Rhode Island voters have a long history of supporting environmental bonds."

"On behalf of the City of Pawtucket, I thank Governor Raimondo and RIDEM led by Janet Coit for providing some of the necessary funds to remediate sites throughout our city," said Pawtucket Mayor Donald R. Grebien. "Tidewater Landing and Dexter Street Commons are catalysts for the transformation of Pawtucket for years to come, and we are grateful for the State's continued support and collaboration.

"Brownfields redevelopment returns vacant and underused properties to productive use, mitigates environmental impacts, provides jobs and tax revenue, and revitalizes communities," said Woonsocket Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt. "The proposed solar array projects at the Seville Dye and Sunnyside Avenue sites will increase Woonsocket's commitment to the state's clean energy goals and the redevelopment of Woonsocket Sponging Mill will lead to vibrant job training and trade and vocational opportunities for our high school students. Cleaning up contaminated brownfields sites is a smart investment and I appreciate the investment that Governor Raimondo and the Department of Environmental Management are making in the city that I am proud to lead."

"Fortuitous Partners is grateful for our partnership with Governor Raimondo and RIDEM. These grants will allow us to identify and plan for any environmental remediation that may be required for waterfront property that has sat vacant for decades," said Brett Johnson, founder of Fortuitous Partners, the developer of a mixed-use development anchored by a multipurpose stadium in Pawtucket. "Tidewater Landing will create hundreds of new, good paying jobs, millions in new tax revenue, and tremendous waterfront amenities."

"Public-private partnerships and the availability of funds like the RIDEM Brownfields Grants go a long way in assisting us to address costly environmental cleanups. These funds are crucial in helping us to mitigate the development risk associated with attracting outside investment required for urban redevelopment projects," said Lee Peyser, founder and CEO of Peyser Real Estate Group, whose Dexter Street Commons project is slated to be one of the first transit-oriented development projects in the Conant Thread District, near the new Pawtucket-Central Falls commuter rail station. "We believe in Pawtucket, and with Dexter Street Commons, we look forward to getting cranes in the air and cars off the road. With the support of RIDEM's Brownfields Grants program, it strengthens our public-private partnership and demonstrates our collective commitment to the Pawtucket community."

"The vision, partnership, and financial support the RIDEM has given to Meeting Street (MSC Realty, Inc.) over the course of our five-year campus expansion has been game-changing to our work in redeveloping the Eddy Street corridor for the benefit of Rhode Island's most vulnerable children and families," said Meeting Street's President, John Kelly. "The Brownfields program, like Meeting Street, is all about investing in possibilities, and we are honored to have been selected."

Brownfield Grants Fast Facts

DEM is awarding 13 brownfields grants for projects in Central Falls, Pawtucket, Providence, Richmond, Scituate, West Warwick, and Woonsocket.

The grant awards total $3.26 million, which includes $2 million from the 2018 Green Economy Bond and the balance remaining from leftover monies unspent from previous rounds of grant awards.

Of the 13 grants, five are for site preparation and eight are for redevelopment.

In all, the 13 funded projects will create 1,845 construction jobs and 477 permanent jobs. Eight are in environmental justice areas. The projects will unlock $177 million in additional investments and promote smart growth by reclaiming and reusing valuable real estate.

Project Summaries

Project: Pawtucket Tidewater Landing/Division Street Address: 45 Division Street, Pawtucket Grant: $190,000 site preparation Description: Grant will be used to fund remaining site assessment work, updated Phase I Environmental Site Assessment, and finalize the Remedial Action Work Plan for the former Tidewater Landing. This property is part of the city's planned soccer stadium complex and redevelopment plans including housing, a hotel, commercial space, a riverwalk, and a new pedestrian bridge. The entire redevelopment will result in over 1,000 construction jobs and 100 permanent jobs.

Project: Pawtucket Town Landing Address: 0 Taft Street, Pawtucket Grant: $195,000 site preparation Description: Grant will be used to fund remaining site assessment work, updated Phase I Environmental Site Assessment, and finalize the Remedial Action Work Plan for the former Tidewater Landing. This property is part of the city's planned soccer stadium complex and redevelopment plans including housing, a hotel, commercial space, a riverwalk, and a new pedestrian bridge. The entire redevelopment will result in over 1,000 construction jobs and 100 permanent jobs.

Project: Central Falls Ball Fields Address: 987 High Street, Central Falls Grants: $380,393 redevelopment Description: The old ballfields on High Street are in an environmental justice area. They have historical impacts from filling and coal tar as a result of the city's long, industrial history. This grant will help the city restore the ballfields and bring much-needed public open space to the city.

Project: Dexter Street Commons Address: 71 Dexter Street, Pawtucket Grant: $400,000 redevelopment Description: This mixed-use redevelopment is slated to be one of the first redevelopment projects in conjunction with the proposed train station in Pawtucket. This blighted property is in an environmental justice area and will result in 100 construction jobs and 60 permanent jobs.

Project: Evolution Mill Address: 65 Manchester Street, West Warwick Grant: $120,476 redevelopment Description: Funding to continue an ongoing rehabilitation of an old mill complex located in an environmental justice area, creating in-demand office, retail, and artist spaces. This phase of redevelopment also will address ongoing flooding issues with better stormwater management controls. This project has continued community support and brings 30 construction jobs and 10 permanent jobs.

Project: Hope Mill Address: 5 Main Street, Scituate Grant: $300,000 site preparation Description: Funding for the former Hope Mill will go toward hazardous material and asbestos abatement to help prepare the site for planned affordable multifamily housing and market value housing. This large project will involve result in 420 construction jobs and restore a blighted property.

Project: Mickey Steven's Warwick Address: 925 Sandy Lane, Warwick Grant: $419,181 site preparation & redevelopment Description: Originally built in the 1970s, the popular recreational complex needs environmental assessment and remediation due, in part, to an old landfill starting to cause noticeable damage. This complex is a large economic and public asset in the city and this funding will assist the city in needed assessment work as well as generate 150 construction jobs.

Project: MSC Realty Providence Address: 945 Eddy Street, Providence Grant: $500,000 redevelopment Description: Brownfield funding will assist Meeting Street in its plan to redevelop property into a vocational/career training program for students ages 14-22 in order to improve the long-term employment prospects for students in need. The building, located in an environmental justice area, requires interior and exterior environmental remediation that will result in 35 construction jobs and 10-15 permanent jobs upon completion.

Project: MSC Realty Former Furniture Bank Address: 951-953 Eddy Street, Providence Grant: $39,700 site preparation Description: Meeting Street purchased this neighboring property located in an environmental justice area and due to its industrial history, the property requires a full Phase I and II Environmental Site Assessment to assess the future remedial work required to bring it into productive reuse as part of Meeting Street's ongoing expansion.

Project: Seville Dye Address: 117 & 229 First Avenue, Woonsocket Grant: $292,800 redevelopment Description: Currently a vacant site owned by the city for which a 1.5-megawatt solar array is planned. Prior to redevelopment, a bioventing remedial system will be installed and operated in order to remediate the site's petroleum impacted soils.

Project: Shannock Mill Address: 225 Shannock Village Road, Richmond Grant: $235,280 redevelopment Description: Large site with several remedial needs. Funding would assist in writing a Remedial Action Work Plan Addendum and excavating contaminated soil and material as the site is redeveloped into a diverse mixed-use development that will provide riverfront access and greenway-related amenities. The redevelopment will result in at least 20 construction jobs and the potential for over 200 permanent jobs.

Project: Sunnyside Solar Redevelopment Address: 92-176 Sunnyside Avenue, Woonsocket Grant: $100,000 site preparation Description: This site consists of 2 adjacent parcels with long industrial histories, encompassing almost five acres. The city will be using Brownfield funding to complete additional site assessment work and complete the required Remedial Action Work Plan. Once the parcels are remediated, the city will be proposing a future reuse as a solar farm.

Project: Woonsocket Sponging Mill Address: 115 Picard Street, Woonsocket Grant: $91,600 redevelopment Description: This 62,742 sq. ft. building located next to the Woonsocket High school is in the process of being rehabilitated. The developer plans to collaborate with the high school on job training and trade/vocational opportunities. Funding will assist in the remediation and closure of the site. Redevelopment will result in 30 construction jobs and 55 permanent jobs.

Excluding the grant awardees announced today, $12 million from DEM's Brownfields Remediation and Economic Development Fund has capitalized 54 projects in 14 communities across Rhode Island. This money has leveraged more than $835 million in other investment and supported around 7,800 jobs, helping build new schools, businesses, affordable housing, and green energy projects throughout the state.

Related links

  • Department or agency: Department of Environmental Management
  • Online: http://www.dem.ri.gov/
  • Release date: 12-08-2020

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