R.I. Awards Nearly $4 Million for Brownfield Projects

By ecoRI News staff

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) recently award $3.7 million in matching grants under the state’s Brownfields Remediation and Economic Development Fund. Fourteen projects will be funded in an effort to clean up contaminated property and promote redevelopment — particularly along Rhode Island’s urban corridor.

According to grantee estimates, these awards will support more than 2,700 jobs.

Expansion, redevelopment or reuse of brownfields — vestiges of Rhode Island’s industrial heritage — may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of environmental contamination. This grant program, which helps accelerate redevelopment and supports smart growth, provides resources to facilitate the return of these sites to productive use. Grant funding covers up to 80 percent of a project’s cost; a 20 percent match is required.

Grants for both site preparation and redevelopment projects are issued to municipalities, nonprofits and private entities throughout the state. Five site preparation grants, ranging in value from $23,760 to $100,000, are being awarded this year. The funded sites have already been identified as a brownfield based on previous site investigations but lack an approved clean-up plan.

Here is the list of those grant recipients:

City of Pawtucket ($100,000): 45 Division Street/School Street.
City of Pawtucket ($80,000): Town Landing, Taft Street.
Evolution Mill ($23,760): 65 Manchester St., West Warwick.
Lippitt Mill ($40,000): 825 Main St., West Warwick.
Bay Spring Realty ($34,426): 90 Bay Spring Ave., Barrington.

In addition, nine redevelopment grants, which fund remediation and redevelopment, were awarded to sites with an approved clean-up plan; they range in value from $150,000 to $712,000.

Here is the list of those grant recipients:

South Street Landing ($496,650): 350 Eddy St., 342 Eddy St., 11 & 15 Point St., Providence.
Parcel 12 ($175,036): 5 Exchange St., Providence.
Ronald McDonald House ($150,000): 152 Dudley St., Providence.
ONE New Builders/Paragon Mills ($425,000): 31-39 Manton Ave., Providence.
Blackstone Pawtucket ($295,456): 59, 65 & 70 Blackstone Ave., Pawtucket.
Bristol Industrial Park ($427,737): 500 Wood St., Bristol.
East Pointe/Ocean State Steel ($240,000): 300 Bourne Ave., East Providence.
Phillipsdale ($500,000): 310 Bourne Ave., East Providence.
Westerly Higher Education and Job Skills Center ($712,000): 17 Canal St., Westerly.

DEM plans an additional request for proposals in 2016, and continues to work with its partners to expand efforts to invest in underutilized sites. It’s estimated that Rhode Island has between 10,000 and 12,000 brownfields sites — many of which occupy desirable commercial and industrial space within the state’s urban corridor. Remediation and redevelopment of these sites not only reduces the threat to public health and the environment from exposure to uncontrolled contamination, but it also creates and attracts jobs, revitalizes neighborhoods and increases the local tax base.