Governor McKee, DEM, Announce New Round of Brownfields Grant Awards

Published on Friday, January 26, 2024

PROVIDENCE, RI – Governor Daniel J. McKee and the Department of Environmental Management (DEM) today announce the award of $2.525 million in reimbursable grants under the Brownfields Remediation and Economic Development Fund for the cleanup and redevelopment of contaminated properties, known as brownfields, across Rhode Island. 10 projects across five cities and towns will receive funding, made possible by the voter-approved 2022 Green Bond and from leftover monies unspent from previous grant rounds. The 10 funded projects, eight of which are in Environmental Justice (EJ) focus areas, are expected to create 2,446 construction jobs and 475 permanent jobs. The projects will unlock $522 million in additional investments and promote smart growth by reclaiming and reusing valuable real estate. Brownfields occupy many acres of desirable commercial and industrial space within the state’s urban corridors. Remediation and redevelopment of these sites not only mitigates the threat to public health and the environment from exposure to uncontrolled contamination, but also can create and attract jobs, help small businesses, increase the community tax base, and revitalize streets and neighborhoods.

"Rhode Island has made tremendous strides in cleaning up vacant and contaminated industrial sites and converting them into prime real estate, which reduces environmental and health threats while revitalizing neighborhoods, increasing the tax base, and ensuring a cleaner future for all," said Governor Dan McKee. “These grant awards will help continue Rhode Island’s momentum in redeveloping these sites, which is why I proposed another $5M for the brownfields program under the $50M Green Bond in my proposed fiscal year 2025 budget submitted to the General Assembly last week.”

“The community cleanups and investments made possible by brownfields grants underscore the power of the green bonds that finance them,” said DEM Director Terry Gray. “Green bonds help restore our environment, support economic development, and strengthen Rhode Island’s resiliency in the face of climate change. DEM is grateful that Governor McKee has proposed $5 million in additional funding for the Brownfields grant program in the 2024 Green Bond for the ballot in November. If approved, this investment will help continue the success we’ve achieved with our partners by investing in the cleanup of sites across the state, which has helped build new schools, businesses, affordable housing, and green energy projects.”

Project Summaries

Project:           138 Friendship LLC – Vacant Land
Address:
           101 Richmond Street / 138 Friendship Street, Providence

Grant:                $30,000 remediation/redevelopment

Description:     Funds to be used to design and install a sub-slab depressurization system for a vacant historic masonry building/former nightclub in the jewelry district of Providence. In addition, funds will also be used to finish soil encapsulation and groundwater monitoring. Located in an EJ focus area, the vacant building will support two commercial tenants and 19 residential units.

Project:           Crossroads RI – Summer Street
Address:
           94 Summer Street, Providence
Grant:               $350,000 remediation/redevelopment

Description:     Vacant 1.15-acre lot on Summer Street in an EJ focus area impacted by over a century of various manufacturing operations such as telegraph wire, gas tube, and jewelry production. This grant will help Crossroads Rhode Island, a local non-profit, to provide 176 new one-bedroom apartments to homeless and extremely low-income adults.

Project:           Former Urban League of RI
Address:
           246 Prairie Avenue, Providence

Grant:                $275,000 remediation/redevelopment

Description:     Blighted, derelict building in an EJ focus area, set to be demolished and redeveloped as a hub for community organizations focused on advocacy, recreation, and social services. Funding will support the abatement and disposal of hazardous building materials necessary to prepare the building for demolition and the site for redevelopment. Remaining funds will go toward soil remediation.

Project:           Former Woonsocket Middle School
Address:
           375 Park Place, Woonsocket
Grant:                $275,000 remediation/redevelopment

Description:     Vacant, blighted former school building in an EJ focus area to be remediated and redeveloped into a mixed-use complex to include 146 residential units, commercial spaces, and a community recreation center that will be accessible to both to residents and members of the public, with free admission opportunities for Woonsocket High School students, teachers, and the local police and fire departments. Funding to be used for are for the abatement of asbestos, lead based paint, and PCB containing materials.

Project:           Future Finishing
Address:
           178 George Waterman Road, Johnston
Grant:                $150,000 site assessment

Description:     Funding will be used to further assess on-site groundwater, sub-slab soil gas, and indoor air necessary to develop a remedial plan to support redevelopment. In addition, potential off-site impacts to groundwater will be investigated to determine if off-site remediation is required. Once remedial plans are approved, proposed redevelopment plans include a mixed use of business offices and residential units.

Project:           Oak Street Mill #2
Address:
           239 Oak Street, Providence
Grant:                $320,000 remediation/redevelopment

Description:     Blighted, historical mill with sub-surface soil impacts, located in an EJ focus area, to be remediated and redeveloped to support industrial arts production, retail operations, maker space, event space, and three residential units. The top floor is under consideration for use as an emergency temporary shelter for local youth. House of the Rising Star, LLC has partnered with several work development & job training programs and will use this space provide more of those opportunities.

Project:           Pawtucket – Town Landing
Address:
           0 Taft Street, Pawtucket

Grant:                $250,000 remediation/redevelopment

Description:     Funding will be used to support remediation work including soil excavation, remediation, capping, and environmental monitoring as the parcel is improved with a new riverfront revetment, public waterfront riverwalk, amphitheater, and park space along Town Landing, and bridge abutments that will serve as part of the foundation for a new pedestrian bridge over the Seekonk River.

 

Project:           Pawtucket – Tidewater Landing
Address:         
45 Division Street, Pawtucket

Grant:               $250,000 remediation/redevelopment

Description:     Funding at the Division Street parcels will go toward remediation needs that include excavating lead-impacted soils, constructing engineered caps utilizing permeant foundations, and the installation of hardscape and earthen caps. The remedial work will support the redevelopment of the parcels into amenities that include an event center, mixed commercial and residential development along School Street, and riverfront improvements along the east side of the Seekonk River.

Project:           Rise Above All Properties
Address:           258 Pine Street, Pawtucket
Grant:                $275,000 remediation/redevelopment

Description:     Vacant property with blighted former mill building, located in an EJ focus area, that burned down while vacant. Funding will support remedial work to include soil excavation and disposal, soil encapsulation, and vapor intrusion mitigation. The planned redevelopment will result in 7,000 sf of commercial space, 180 units of multi-family housing, 30% of which will be deed-restricted as affordable apartments.

Project:           Shannock Village / Clark Mill
Address:           225 Shannock Village Road, Richmond
Grant:                $350,000 remediation/redevelopment

Description:     Funding to continue the ongoing remediation and rehabilitation of an old mill complex located next to the Pawcatuck River. Reuse plans include providing public access for fishing, kayaking, and enjoying a nature trail. This phase of the remedial work will be focused on remediating oil contamination around Building #12, riverbank restorations, and addressing impacted soil. This project supports an estimated 200 construction jobs and will bring 35 permanent jobs.

Including the grant awardees announced today, $16.5 million from DEM’s Brownfields Remediation and Economic Development Fund has capitalized 71 projects in 18 communities across Rhode Island. Half of State funding has developed projects in EJ areas. This money has leveraged more than $1.39 billion in other investments, supported almost 13,000 jobs, helping build new schools, businesses, affordable housing, recreational space, and green energy projects on formerly vacant properties in communities throughout Rhode Island.

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, an estimated 7.3 jobs are supported per $100,000 spent on brownfield redevelopment. Since the inception of the Rhode Island’s Brownfield Bond Fund, the program has more than doubled that productivity at approximately 15.5 permanent jobs created for every $100,000 of state bond funds granted.

For more information on DEM programs and initiatives, visit www.dem.ri.gov. Follow DEM on Facebook, Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM), or Instagram (@rhodeisland.dem) for timely updates.