RI Delegation Announces $925k for Remediation & Development


Central Falls, Providence, and Woonsocket to receive federal brownfield funds to
cleanup & redevelop blighted properties

PROVIDENCE, RI - U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and
Congressmen Jim Langevin and David Cicilline announced $925,000 in federal funding
to help Central Falls, Providence, and Woonsocket clean and redevelop contaminated
former industrial sites.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Brownfields Program provides states
and local communities with funding to safely inspect and clean up contaminated sites
so that they may be used in redevelopment projects.  This round of federal funding
will provide $600,000 to Woonsocket and $200,000 to Providence to help safely
remediate the land and address challenges related to brownfield sites. 
Additionally, Central Falls will receive $125,000 in technical assistance funding to
pave the way for further environmental assessment and cleanup of contamination and
help prepare sites for future revitalization projects.

ARTech Hub LLC, a subsidiary company of NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley
(NWBRV), which has sought to build on a center of growth of arts and technology in
Woonsocket's center, will receive $400,000 to clean up two locations: the 0.4-acre
Lot 371 and 0.3-acre Lot 387 of the former Woonsocket Rubber Mill Company site at 68
South Main Street.  Both lots were formerly used as manufacturing facilities, retail
spaces, and music and art studios, and have been vacant since 2014.  They are
currently contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, metals, and inorganic
contaminants, all of which pose potential danger to human health.  Grant funds at
both sites also will be used to construct and maintain engineering controls and
conduct community outreach activities.

The Woonsocket Neighborhood Development Corporation, also a subsidiary of NWBRV, has
been selected to receive $200,000 to clean up the former Island Machine Company Mill
at 15 Island Place.  The 0.4-acre cleanup site was formerly used for wheel,
carriage, and harness manufacturing; planing (shaping) and wood turning; and
operating a tin shop.  The site is contaminated with polycyclic aromatic
hydrocarbons, heavy metals, and inorganic contaminants.  Grant funds also will be
used for community outreach and further cleanup planning activities.

The City of Providence will receive $200,000 to help communities respond to local
brownfields challenges as part of the EPA's Area-Wide Planning Program, which is
implemented particularly where multiple brownfield sites are in close proximity,
connected by infrastructure, and have limited the economic, environmental, and
social prosperity of their surroundings.  The Area-Wide Program enhances EPA's core
brownfields assistance programs by providing grant funding to communities so they
can perform the research needed to develop an area-wide plan and implement
strategies for brownfields assessment, cleanup, and reuse to promote economic and
community growth.

The Blackstone Valley Community Health Center (CHC) of Central Falls will receive
$125,000 in technical assistance funds, which will enable the community to better
understand technical issues related to cleanups and key considerations for a site's
future use.

"Here's an example of why the EPA is important to everyday Rhode Islanders. 
Brownfields funding helps transform blighted property, creates jobs, and paves the
way for future economic development," said Senator Reed, a member of the
Appropriations Subcommittee that oversees federal funding for all EPA programs.  In
2002, Reed helped pass the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields
Revitalization Act, making this federal funding possible.  "These funds will allow
communities to revitalize neighborhoods and build toward a stronger economic future.
 They also serve as another reminder of why the Trump Administration's plans to
slash the EPA's budget could negatively impact Rhode Island and our state and
nation's public health."

"The EPA's Brownfields program makes important investments in our health, our
economy, and our environment," said Senator Whitehouse.  "This federal funding will
restore vacant, polluted lots in Woonsocket, Central Falls, and Providence for the
benefit of the community."

"The $925,000 in Brownfield Program grants will significantly improve contaminated
sites in Providence, Central Falls, and Woonsocket and invigorate their
neighborhoods," Congressman Jim Langevin said.  "Restoring brownfields has a proven
track record of creating jobs by leveraging private investment to allow for reuse of
blighted properties.  President Trump's proposed EPA budget cuts are deeply
troubling in part because they would hinder the remediation of brownfield sites and
stifle the corresponding benefits to communities, public health, and the

"This is a transformative investment for these communities," said Congressman
Cicilline.  "These kinds of investments from the EPA help catalyze economic
development in areas that were previously a threat to the health and well-being of
Rhode Islanders.  Cleaning up and redeveloping Brownfields makes a tremendous amount
of sense, and I am going to continue to support this program in Washington to ensure
more communities across Rhode Island are able to benefit from this opportunity."

The Trump Administration's 2018 budget calls for cutting the EPA's budget by 31
percent overall, including deep cuts to brownfields that is estimated to result in a
30 percent drop in grants to states.

According to the EPA, in FY 2016, federal brownfields funding made 7,354 acres
nationwide ready for reuse, leveraged 9,661 jobs, and raised $1.47 billion from
public and private sources, exceeding performance targets and driving further
economic activity.   In a peer-reviewed study, residential property values increased
5 to 15 percent after brownfields grant cleanups.  The EPA also notes that on
average through FY 2016, $16.11 was leveraged for each brownfields dollar and 8.5
jobs leveraged per $100,000 of brownfields funds expended on assessment, cleanup,
and revolving loan fund cooperative agreements.