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EPA Gives $1.25 Million of Brownfields Grants to Providence and RI State Agencies

Release Date: 05/18/2000
Contact Information: Peyton Fleming, EPA Press Office (617-918-1008)

BOSTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that the State of Rhode Island and the City of Providence have been chosen to receive $1.25 million of Brownfields assistance to fund site assessment work in Providence and a statewide cleanup loan program.

The EPA announcement includes $1 million to the R.I. Department of Environmental Management and the R.I. Economic Development Corp. to finance a statewide revolving loan fund to help pay for site cleanups. Among the state's 300 Brownfield sites that will be targeted are the Rau Fasteners site in South Providence, the American Tourister site in Providence, the Royal Mills site in West Warwick and the East Providence landfill property. The low-interest loans will range from $50,000 to $250,000.

An additional $250,000 of Brownfields assistance was awarded to the City of Providence for site assessment work at an old industrial waterfront property known as Narragansett Landing. The 642-acre property off Allens Avenue is a key component of the city's New Cities Initiative.

Rhode Island and Providence are among 15 recipients in New England and 102 nationally that have been chosen to receive a total of $35 million in Brownfields grants. The funds are being used across the country for site assessments, revolving loan cleanup programs and Brownfields job training programs.

"These grants will help jump start Rhode Island's efforts to clean up their abandoned and contaminated sites so they can be put back to productive reuse," said Mindy S. Lubber, regional administrator of EPA's New England Office. "As a result, Rhode Islanders can look forward to a cleaner environment, new jobs and more tax revenues for their communities."

"Rhode Island has been very active in Brownfields reuse efforts. In fact, two years ago the Woonasquatucket Greenway was selected by the Clinton Administration as a Brownfields Showcase Community," added R.I. Governor Lincoln Almond. "The funds announced today will allow us to continue our statewide cleanup efforts to restore land and buildings to productive use. By revitalizing these abandoned properties, we are creating more economic opportunities for businesses and workers."

"It is most exciting to note that the EPA recognizes the vast potential of Narragansett Landing and its future as a center of commerce, waterside living and business development," said Providence Mayor Vincent A. Cianci Jr. "This and the additional Brownfields loan assistance offered to a number of site locations in the city, will have a dramatic impact on Providence's quality of life and the safety of its environment. All of our residents are grateful to the EPA for these awards and for the positive and lasting affects they will have on our city."

"This is great news for Providence and the state of Rhode Island," added U.S. Senator Lincoln Chafee. "By allowing Brownfields to sit unused and undeveloped year after year, we allow urban sprawl to continue while missing an opportunity to beautify our cities towns and neighborhoods. I applaud the efforts of the EDC, DEM and others who made this possible."

"Environmental revitalization and economic development go hand-in-hand," said U.S. Senator Jack Reed. "The Administration's continued funding of Brownfield cleanup efforts in Rhode Island clearly demonstrates a critical commitment to protecting public health and revitalizing Rhode Island cities."

"I am pleased EPA has awarded Rhode Island and the City of Providence with the resources to rehabilitate Brownfields sites and to assess those parcels that may be potential dangers to our neighborhoods," said U.S. Congressman Robert Weygand. "Cleaning up Brownfields and preserving open, green space is critical to the development of the state's largest city and the state as a whole."

A total of $5.4 million in Brownfield grants were awarded today to 15 New England recipients. Other grants went to Brockton, New Bedford, North Adams and Gloucester in Massachusetts; Westbrook and Lewiston in Maine; the Windham Regional Commission in Vermont; and New London, Berlin, Danbury, Naugatuck Valley and Middlesex Community College in Connecticut.