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EPA Announces $745,000 of Smart Growth and Brownfield Funds for Rhode Island

Release Date: 07/29/2002
Contact Information: Peyton Fleming, EPA Press Office, 617-918-1008

BOSTON - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced $745,000 of Smart Growth and Brownfields grants for Rhode Island, including $45,000 to support redevelopment along the Woonasquatucket River and $700,000 for a Brownfields revolving loan fund.

The $45,000 grant, among $405,000 awarded nationally under the agency's Smart Growth: Saving Open Space, Revitalizing Brownfields program, will be used by the R.I. Department of Environmental Management for its Woonasquatucket River Greenway Project. The grant will support efforts to identify and recommend land use, zoning and other regulatory revisions that will promote redevelopment of Brownfield sites and other vacant parcels along the Woonasquatucket River in Providence.

"The Woonsaquatucket River corridor is ripe with redevelopment opportunities," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA's New England Office. "This grant will enable DEM and its partners to develop new regulations and policies that can take advantage of those opportunities, leading to more jobs, an increased tax base and fewer vacant parcels."

"We are delighted to have been selected by EPA to receive this grant," added DEM Director Jan H. Reitsma. "The award will boost our ongoing efforts to restore and revitalize the Woonasquatucket River watershed. Our collaborative, community-based approach in the Woonasquatucket has been key to the progress we've achieved to date, and this new support from EPA constitutes yet another example of how working partnerships can yield significant results."

EPA also announced an additional $700,000 of supplemental funds to the R.I. Economic Development Corp. for its Brownfields Cleanup Revolving Loan Fund. The state agency, which is operating the fund in coordination with DEM, has received $1.7 million of funding to date for the revolving loan fund, with the first $1 million being approved in 2000.

EDC recently executed a $500,000 loan agreement with the YMCA of Greater Providence for a cleanup at the former Gorham Industrial property in downtown Providence. The new funding will be used to provide additional support for the YMCA project and to make a second loan to Save The Bay, which is building a new headquarters and education center on a Brownfields site on Upper Narragansett Bay in Providence.