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Raimondo Highlights Green Economy Bond

02/08/2018
Over $3.7 million in grants announced to clean up, redevelop brownfields sites throughout RI

PROVIDENCE, RI - As part of continued efforts to grow Rhode Island's green economy, Governor Gina Raimondo joined the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) and other partners today at an event to highlight the proposed 2018 Green Economy Bond. Governor Raimondo's proposed $48.5 million Green Economy and Clean Water Bond provides funding to improve parks, bikeways and recreational areas, preserve open space, strengthen climate resiliency and clean up contaminated land for productive use.

"Vibrant communities attract people and businesses to locate and grow in Rhode Island," said Governor Gina Raimondo. "The projects funded by these grants will help move Rhode Island forward by opening up valuable real estate for development, cleaning up contamination, attracting jobs and promoting public health. The investments we are making today will pay dividends for years to come."

Earlier this week, Governor Raimondo directed her energy team to work with the state's utilities to issue a procurement for up to 400 megawatts of affordable, clean energy by this summer. Since announcing the goal to bring 1,000 megawatts of clean energy into the state's energy portfolio last spring, Rhode Island has already more doubled the amount of renewable power.

Today, $3.7 million was awarded in grants for the cleanup and redevelopment of brownfield sites. This includes the award of $2.375 million in matching grants under the Brownfields Remediation and Economic Development Fund. Ten projects, spread across eight communities, are receiving funding through the 2016 Green Economy Bond to clean up contaminated property and promote redevelopment. According to grantee estimates, the grants will leverage about $50 million in additional investment in these projects and support nearly 1,050 new jobs.

Redevelopment of brownfields - which are vestiges of Rhode Island's industrial heritage and number in the thousands across the state - may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of environmental contamination. The Brownfields Remediation and Economic Development Fund, created under the 2014 Clean Water, Open Space, and Healthy Communities Bond, helps communities and private organizations accelerate cleanup efforts and promote smart growth. Rhode Island's brownfields grant program, which covers up to 80 percent of a project's environmental cost, provides needed resources for site preparation and redevelopment projects.

Previously, $5 million has been awarded under the Fund, supporting 23 projects in 10 communities. These grants, which leveraged over $575 million in other investment and support some 4,000 jobs, help build new schools, businesses and homes throughout the state. Since 1995, some 790 brownfields sites have been cleaned up with assistance from DEM and its partners. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, an estimated 7.3 jobs are supported per $100,000 spent on brownfields redevelopment.

"Funding from the Green Economy Bond is helping us transform brownfields into productive spaces that will benefit Rhode Island's environment and economy and create jobs," said DEM Director Janet Coit. "There are hundreds of these former industrial sites scattered across Rhode Island, and it's crucial that we continue to invest in their cleanup. We are excited to support so many worthy projects and look forward to celebrating their success."

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 remediation grant recipients include:

Bristol Industrial Park, Phase III - $453,410

500 Wood Street, Bristol

Continuation of project to revitalize industrial park with parking and landscaping

Residence at Roosevelt - $185,273

369 Roosevelt Ave, Central Falls

For revitalization of existing property into affordable housing

Collette Travel - $122,592

183 Front Street, Pawtucket

Rehabilitation and redevelopment of park, public garden, and 500 feet of bikeway to be incorporated into the Blackstone Valley Bikeway

Farm Fresh RI - $480,000

498 Kinsley Avenue, Providence

Project to convert blighted, fire-damaged site into a food and agricultural campus to provide employment opportunities and fresh, local food to the public and surrounding area

MSC Realty/Meeting Street - $396,000

928 Eddy Street/66&80 Seymour Street, Providence

To support expansion project of Meeting Street's campus through new public outdoor recreation facilities for children and families

FXF Hydro/Clark's Mill - $429,267

Shannon Village Road, Richmond

Removal and clean-up of contaminated soils of property that includes riverfront access to Shannock River to ready site for rehabbing of existing structures.

Pierce Street Properties - $52,160

87 & 89 Pierce Street, Westerly

Clean-up of vacant lot in residential area to eliminate potential exposure to polluted space and to allow restoration of property

Evolution Mills - $176,220

65 Manchester Rd, West Warwick

Funding to continue ongoing clean-up and restoration of a large mill complex into office, retail, and artist spaces with residential areas

Site assessment grant recipients include:

Cove Homes - $33,200

Frenchtown Road at Route 403, East Greenwich

Redevelopment of site into housing for low-income senior citizens in need of limited services

Tallman Enterprises - $46,960

390-392 Pine Street, Pawtucket

Redevelopment project that includes rehabilitation of the existing buildings to create additional manufacturing, office, retail, and residential space

In addition to the projects funded by the state Brownfields Remediation and Economic Development Fund, DEM is earmarking $442,200 in funds received under the US Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Targeted Brownfield Assessment program for five additional projects, subject to final EPA review and approval. Also, approximately $980,000 in loan funds are being set aside for eight projects under review by the newly-established RI Infrastructure Bank's Brownfields Remediation Revolving Loan Fund.

For more information on DEM programs and initiatives, visit www.dem.ri.gov.