New Grant Round Features Increased Focus on Projects in Environmental Justice Areas
PROVIDENCE – The Department of Environmental Management (DEM) today announced new funding opportunities for the cleanup and redevelopment of contaminated properties, known as brownfields, across Rhode Island. In all, $3 million is available. Redevelopment/reuse plans that support a positive impact on the community with amenities available for public use, and targeted community engagement opportunities for designated Environmental Justice (EJ) areas will be scored favorably. EJ areas and/or community enrichment for historically low-income areas throughout Rhode Island are an area of focus for this grant round.
Funding for the grants includes $2 million from the 2018 Green Economy Bond, which was passed by more than 79 percent of Rhode Island voters, and $1 million from savings realized during previous rounds of grant awards.
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, revitalize streets and neighborhoods, increase the community tax base, and support RI’s commitment to producing 10 times as much clean energy by 2020.
“Transforming brownfields into productive, cleaner spaces benefits our state and Rhode Island families many times over,” said DEM Director Janet Coit. “We’re proud of the success we’ve achieved by investing in the cleanup of brownfield sites across the state, and, along with many partners, developing beautiful new schools, businesses, homes, solar farms and parks in their place. We look forward to partnering with the successful applicants on this new grant opportunity.”
A Request for Proposals (RFP) opens today – with a deadline of September 18, 2020 – for a new round of matching grants under the State’s Brownfield Remediation and Economic Development Fund. Interested persons, organizations, and businesses may view the RFP here. This fund, created under the 2014 Clean Water, Open Space, and Healthy Communities Bond and supplemented with funds from the 2016 and 2018 Green Economy Bonds, helps communities and private organizations accelerate cleanup efforts and promote smart growth. The redevelopment of brownfield sites may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of environmental contamination.
Rhode Island’s brownfields grant program, which covers 80 percent of a project’s cost, provides needed resources for site preparation and redevelopment projects. Site preparation grants are available for properties that have been declared a brownfield based on previous site investigation work but lack an approved Remedial Action Work Plan (RAWP). These grants can be used to fill gaps that exist in site investigation data and to develop and analyze actions necessary for an approved RAWP. Redevelopment grants are available for projects with completed and approved site investigations and an approved RAWP and Remedial Approval Letter or Order of Approval through DEM.
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, an estimated 7.3 jobs are supported per $100,000 spent on brownfield redevelopment.
How to Apply:
The RFP opens today with an application deadline of September 18, 2020. Final proposals and supporting materials are due by 4 PM on Friday, September 18, 2020. Government, private, and community agencies are eligible to apply. Project selection will be determined on a competitive basis. Electronic submissions are required, hard copies will not be accepted. The application form is available at http://www.dem.ri.gov/programs/benviron/waste/pdf/bsprfapp.pdf.