Governor McKee, Infrastructure Bank Announce $12 Million In Action Grants for Municipal Resilience Projects Across 20 Communities Across Rhode Island


Funding from the 2022 voter-approved Green Bond will allow cities and towns to implement resilience projects to address the impacts of climate change


PROVIDENCE, RI – Today, Governor Dan McKee and the Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank announced $12 million in Action Grants for participants of the Municipal Resilience Program (MRP). Communities prioritized local actions through the program and will use grant funds to implement projects that will increase their climate resilience. Funding for these action grants comes from the 2022 voter-approved Green Bond, which provided for $16 million for municipal resilience projects and was part of Governor McKee's FY2023 budget.


"Investing in Rhode Island's communities isn’t just a prudent decision but a crucial step in securing a resilient future,” said Governor Dan McKee. “The impacts of flooding and storms have been wide-ranging throughout our state, but with this funding from the voter-approved Green Bond, we can mitigate those risks, improve our response, and adapt to meet the climate change challenge.” 


The Green Bond directs $16 million to the MRP to help communities restore and improve vulnerable coastal habitats, river and stream floodplains, and infrastructure. It also includes $5 million for a small business energy loan program to provide zero-interest and below-market loans for clean energy projects.


“In just the last few weeks, communities across Rhode Island have experienced the effects of extreme storms, severe flooding, and coastal erosion, all of which are anticipated to increase due to the impacts of climate change,” said William Fazioli, Executive Director of Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank. “Rhode Island needs to invest in resilient infrastructure solutions now, and that is exactly what this $12 million in 20 Municipal Resilience Program Action Grants will allow 19 communities across our state to do. We look forward to continuing to work with our city and town partners through the Municipal Resilience Program, and to partnering with our state and federal leaders to create a sustainable financial framework to address the mounting challenges posed by acute and chronic climate related events.” 


"As a coastal community, we're feeling the impacts of increasingly severe weather, from coastal erosion to abnormally high tides, that combined with high winds and flooding are swamping Newport treasures like King Park," said Newport Mayor Xay Khamsyvoravong. "We need to aggressively pursue every available resource to help Newport make the investments it needs to weather these events. Using this $2.3 million grant from the Infrastructure Bank, we will make King Park more resilient by removing a portion of the existing seawall, expanding the beach area, and planting salt tolerant plants. These investments will help mitigate the damage that can be caused by flooding events and ensure that King Park will be a beautiful recreational asset for Newport residents and visitors for decades to come." 


With support from The Nature Conservancy, 35 of Rhode Island’s 39 municipalities have participated in the MRP workshop process to develop prioritized lists of actionable resilience plans and projects. Municipalities are then eligible to submit applications for MRP Action Grants with a 25% local match requirement.  


For this round of MRP Action Grants, the Infrastructure Bank received 41 proposals from 30 communities, totaling $52 million in grant requests. Far exceeding currently available funding. 


After a competitive review process, the selection committee (with representatives from the Infrastructure Bank, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, Statewide Planning, and the Coastal Resources Management Council) recommended the following proposals to receive funding for implementation: 


·     Barrington - $112,500: Coastal Adaptation Projects: Latham Park, Allin's Cove, Water Way


·     Bristol - $113,225: Urban Forest Municipal Resilience Project


·     Central Falls - $147,795: Dexter Street Stormwater Resiliency Project 


·     Charlestown - $203,085: Engineering, Design, Permitting, and Community Outreach for the Charlestown Breachway and Adjacent Barrier Island Complex Restoration 


·     Coventry - $100,000: Tiogue Lake Stormwater/Flooding Mitigation Project


·     East Providence - $1,800,000: Crescent Park Shoreline Protection & Slope Stabilization 


·     Glocester - $59,950: Flood Prevention Infrastructure Upgrades 


·     Hopkinton - $1,344,088: Strengthening Flood Resilience through Road and Stream Crossing Upgrades 


·     Johnston - $340,000: Atwood Avenue & Hartford Avenue Stormwater Management 


·     Lincoln - $84,400: Front Street Stormwater Improvements 


·     Middletown - $69,600: Floodproofing Paradise Avenue Pump Station 


·     New Shoreham - $465,000: Corn Neck Road Dune Restoration 


·     Newport - $2,392,884: King Park Shoreline Resilience Improvements 


·     North Providence - $80,500: Fruit Hill Avenue West Area Stormwater Drainage Improvements 


·     Pawtucket - $156,500: Daggett Avenue Green Infrastructure Corridor 


·     Providence - $1,000,000: Public Street Waterfront Access & Green Infrastructure Project 


·     Providence - $225,000: Mashapaug Watershed Water Quality Improvements  


·     South Kingstown - $85,000: Saugatucket Stormwater Culvert Improvements 


·     Warren - $1,250,000: Jamiel's Park Living Shoreline and Landfill Closure Resilience Project 


·     Woonsocket - $2,000,000: Truman Drive Green Infrastructure Parkway 


Click here for more detailed project summaries by municipality.


“As recent storms have once again demonstrated, municipalities across the state are already feeling the impacts of climate change – from severe flooding, to coastal erosion, to property damage,” said Sue AnderBois, The Nature Conservancy’s Director of Climate and Government Relations. “The Nature Conservancy is proud to have partnered with the Infrastructure Bank to bring these planning workshops to 35 of the state’s 39 municipalities, and we are so pleased to see municipalities taking advantage of these action grants to implement the recommendations from their workshops.”

All Rhode Island cities and towns that have completed a workshop are eligible to apply for the Municipal Resilience Program. A second round of funding is expected to be released in spring 2024. More information on the program can be found here.