The health and vitality of our lands, waters, and communities support our way of life and economy in Rhode Island. The proposed 2018 Green Economy and Clean Water Bond invests $48.5 million 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.
GREEN ECONOMY: $28 Million
The value of Rhode Island’s network of historic parks, bikeways and open spaces goes beyond providing beautiful places and scenic greenways for public enjoyment. This network is an important contributor to the state’s economy and ability to attract people and businesses to Rhode Island. Each year, our parks delight millions of visitors and generate jobs and revenue that support state and local economies – while our farms support continued growth of the state’s vibrant food sector.
LOCAL RECREATION: $5 MILLION in matching grants to improve community parks and recreation facilities. Studies show access to green space improves health, promotes stronger social ties, and enhances neighborhood satisfaction and pride. The 2018 grant round for the remaining 2016 Green Bond funds closed this month with requests totaling twice the available funds.
BIKEWAYS: $5 MILLION investment to expand and improve the safety of the state’s bikeway network, including the East Bay Bike Path, for bicyclists and pedestrians. There are more than 60 miles of bike paths in Rhode Island, supporting the use of nearly two million people each year.
FARMLAND & OPEN SPACE: $4 MILLION investment to protect historic farmlands and open space that enhance our communities and fill gaps within state conservation areas. Rhode Island is leading the nation in food-system planning and innovation – spurred on by a growing demand for fresh, locally grown food among consumers. This investment helps preserve historic farmlands and put them within reach of farmers looking for land.
STATE PARKS: $10 MILLION investment to improve park facilities. DEM is currently evaluating capital needs across several properties, including Fort Adams State Park, which is the site of popular events including the Newport Folk Festival, Newport Jazz Festival, and Volvo Ocean Race.
BROWNFIELDS: $4 MILLION in matching grants to clean up former industrial sites or “brownfields” so they may be returned to tax rolls, create jobs, and revitalize our neighborhoods. Through the Brownfields Remediation and Economic Development Fund, the State has already invested $5 million into 23 projects in ten communities, and will soon be funding new projects across the state through the 2016 Green Economy Bond. So far, these grants have leveraged close to $575 million in additional investments and support thousands of jobs – resulting in new businesses, schools, and housing on formerly vacant properties.
CLEAN WATER: $20.5 Million
COASTAL RESILIENCY & PUBLIC ACCESS: $5 MILLION in matching grants for projects that improve Rhode Islanders’ access to our 400 miles of coastline. Investments will support efforts to reduce or eliminate flooding risk in coastal or inland areas and promote green infrastructure and climate resilience.
CLEAN WATER & DRINKING WATER: $6.1 MILLION investment in the Clean and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds (SRFs) to improve the environmental quality of our state’s waters including Narragansett Bay, create jobs, and make Rhode Island a better place to live, work, and play. These matching funds will unlock $35 million in federal funds over two years and an additional $150 - $200 million in private sector capital. The SRFs are co-managed by Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank, DEM, and Rhode Island Department of Health.
WASTEWATER TREATMENT FACILITY RESILIENCE: $5 MILLION in matching grants will help ensure water quality by protecting wastewater treatment facilities from flooding and impacts of climate change identified in a recent vulnerability assessment. Together, Rhode Island’s 19 wastewater treatment facilities purify close to 100 million gallons of sewage each day.
DAM SAFETY: $4.4 MILLION to repair or remove “high-hazard” state-owned dams. Rhode Island is experiencing 10 more inches of rainfall annually than in the 1940s, further stressing dam structures.