The value of Rhode Island’s network of bikeways, open spaces, and waterways goes beyond beautiful places and scenic views for public enjoyment. This network is important to the state’s economy and ability to attract people and businesses. The health of Narragansett Bay and our local waters is central to our environment, way of life, and economy in Rhode Island. Each year, our state’s recreational facilities delight millions of visitors and generate jobs and revenue that support state and local economies, while our farms support the continued growth of our vibrant food sector. This bond invests in water quality, land cleanup, farmland, recreational facilities, and open space to ensure our state remains a wonderful place to live, visit, and raise a family.
LOCAL RECREATION: $5 MILLION to create new and improve existing community parks and recreation facilities. Studies show access to green space improves health, promotes stronger social ties, and enhances neighborhood satisfaction and pride. Without exception, applications for funds for development of local recreational facilities historically have far exceeded available funds.
BIKEWAYS: $5 MILLION investment to expand and improve the state’s bikeway network that runs through many Rhode Island communities for bicyclists and pedestrians. More than 60 miles of bike paths in Rhode Island are used by nearly two million people each year.
OPEN SPACE: $2 MILLION investment for the Open Space Grant program to support land protection and conservation efforts of local communities and non-profits. Since 1985, over 10,000 acres of land have been protected in Rhode Island. A cohesive network of protected lands and habitat have economic, health, and recreational benefits for communities. In past grant rounds, applications for open space preservation have exceeded available funds.
FARMLAND: $2 MILLION investment to preserve working farms and Rhode Island’s growing network of local farmers. Rhode Island leads the nation in food-system planning and innovation – spurred on by a growing demand for fresh, locally grown food among consumers.
BROWNFIELDS: $4 MILLION to clean up former industrial sites or “brownfields” through the Brownfields Remediation and Development Fund, so they may be returned to tax rolls, create jobs, and revitalize our neighborhoods. Rhode Island is home to thousands of brownfields, and many occupy desirable commercial and industrial space. Since 1995, some 800 brownfields sites have been cleaned up in Rhode Island. Using past brownfield bond funding, $7.4 million has been invested in 33 projects, which leveraged over $630 million in private investment and created nearly 5,000 jobs.
COASTAL RESILIENCY & PUBLIC ACCESS: $5 MILLION to restore and improve the climate resilience of vulnerable coastal habitats, as well as river and stream floodplains. Projects funded under this program would improve access and public safety in the face of increased flooding, major storm events, and ecosystem damage.
CLEAN WATER & DRINKING WATER: $7.9 MILLION investment in the Clean and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds to ensure our drinking and recreational waters — including Narragansett Bay — are clean and safe. These matching funds will unlock close to $40 million in federal funds over two years and an additional $150-$200 million in private sector capital. This investment will create jobs and support a variety of projects including drinking water and wastewater treatment upgrades, stormwater quality improvements, combined sewer overflow abatement projects, water distribution system upgrades, and repairs to aging sewers.
PROVIDENCE RIVER DREDGING: $7 MILLION for dredging sections of the Providence River, the Woonasquatucket River, and the Moshassuck River in the vicinity of downtown Providence and Waterplace Park to support economic development, enhance tourism opportunities, and improve water depths for boating, recreation, and climate resilience.
WASTEWATER TREATMENT FACILITY RESILIENCE: $5 MILLION will help ensure water quality by protecting wastewater treatment facilities from flooding, higher tides, and major storm events. Together, Rhode Island’s 19 wastewater treatment facilities clean close to 120 million gallons of wastewater each day.
DAM SAFETY: $4.4 MILLION to repair or remove state-owned dams that are old and in poor condition. Rhode Island is experiencing an increase in annual precipitation and frequency of intense rainfall events, further stressing dams. The repair or removal of these structures will protect lives and property and enhance communities.