RI DEM Awards $2.6 Million in Brownfields Grants to 12 Projects

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

 

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DEM Director Janet Coit

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) has announced its latest round of Brownfields Grant Awardees.

This round of awards will see 12 projects across six cities and towns split $2.6 million in funding that was made available by the 2016 Green Economy Bond.

“When we’re able to clean up brownfields while also increasing our commitment to renewable energy, that’s progress we can all be proud of. Cleaning up contaminated brownfields sites is one of the smartest investments government can make. I’m committed to funding these projects quickly, and I look forward to the success stories that this latest round of funding will set into motion,” said Governor Gina Raimondo.

The Projects

In order to support the push for green energy, one of the projects, a South Kingstown property, will transform into a solar farm capable of producing enough clean energy to power 610 homes.

“DEM significantly increased the emphasis on the green energy reuse option in the scoring criteria for this request for proposals. It’s terrific to see that three of the projects feature solar arrays and one will become a LEED-certified building. Supporting Question 3 will continue our positive trajectory toward cleaning up our waterways and contaminated sites, preserving farmland and open space, and ensuring our state remains a healthy and wonderful place to live, work, visit, and raise a family,” DEM Director Janet Coit.

According to DEM’s press release, 11 of the funded projects will create 598 construction jobs and 269 permanent jobs.

The application for the first phase of the remediation of the Newport Grand property estimates that by itself, this project will generate 1,241 construction jobs and 565 permanent jobs.

The projects also will unlock tens of millions of dollars in additional investments and promote smart growth by reclaiming and reusing valuable real estate.

Project Summaries

Project: Gravelly Hill Road Solar Array

Address:  Gravelly Hill Road, South Kingstown

Grants:  $56,000 site preparation/assessment and $250,000 remediation/redevelopment

Description: Conversion of a property on which waste once was disposed to a 3,200-kilowatt solar farm. Annually, energy credits offered to area municipalities will save $290,000. The array also will produce energy for 610 homes and reduce as much greenhouse gas as would be reduced by removing 871 cars from the road.

Jobs:  40 construction jobs, 2 permanent jobs

 

Project: Gotham Greens Providence LLC

Address: 555 Harris Avenue, Providence

Grant: $250,000 remediation/redevelopment

Description: The developer is taking a former General Electric manufacturing facility that’s been vacant for 2 years and turning it into a 96,000-square-foot, commercial-scale, climate-controlled greenhouse that will grow vegetables and herbs year-round to supply RI retail, restaurant, and institutional food service customers.

Jobs: 100 construction jobs, 65 permanent jobs

 

Project:  Tallman/Shri

Address: 390-392 Pine Street, Pawtucket

Grant:  $250,000 remediation/redevelopment

Description: A former mill will be cleaned up to help prepare the site for an intended subdivision and the sale of one building to Shri Studio, a yoga studio.

Jobs:  21 construction jobs, 45 permanent jobs

 

Project: Fountain Street Apartments

Address: 78 Fountain Street, Providence

Grant:  $250,000 remediation/redevelopment

Description:  Once the home of the Coffee King building and now a dilapidated parking lot with contaminated soils, this will become a 173,000-square-foot, mixed-use LEED-certified apartment building in Downtown Providence. It will have a green roof for stormwater.

Jobs:  250 construction jobs, 90 permanent jobs

 

Project:  The former Cranston Police Station

Address: 275 Atwood Avenue, Cranston

Grant: $400,000 remediation/redevelopment

Description:  Former solid waste dumping area that’s slated to become a retail center.

Jobs:  50 construction jobs, 40 permanent jobs

 

Project: Blackstone Pawtucket LLC

Address: 59, 65, and 70 Blackstone Avenue, Pawtucket

Grant:  $198,317 remediation/redevelopment

Description:  Transforming a former textile manufacturing building into a mixed-use commercial-residential complex. Developer will expand the Blackstone River Bikeway on the property and install solar arrays on two of the building rooftops to offset electrical consumption.

Jobs: 85 construction jobs, 20 permanent jobs

 

Project: Georgiaville Village Green

Address: 29 Whipple Avenue, Smithfield

Grant: $150,000 redevelopment

Description: Once remediation is complete, the longtime site of the Narragansett Gray Iron Foundry will become 42 units of affordable family housing with a rooftop solar installation to offset utility costs.

Jobs: 25 construction jobs, 1 permanent job

 

Project: Coffey’s Texaco

Address: 48 Touro Street, Newport

Grant:  $250,000 remediation/redevelopment

Description: The site of a gas station that has already undergone major cleanups to remove underground storage tanks and remediate petroleum impacts will be turned into a public park with a historic marker. It’s the original location of Newport Town Spring.

Jobs:   20 construction jobs, 2 permanent jobs

                       

Project: Newport Grand – Phase 1

Address: 150 Admiral Kalbfus Road, Newport

Grant:  $250,000 remediation/redevelopment

Description: The property on which stood Newport Grand requires significant environmental remediation before it can be put into a marketable condition – and to prevent the site from slipping into blight or disrepair.

Jobs: 1,241 construction jobs, 565 permanent jobs

 

Project: The Steel Yard

Address:  27 Sims Avenue, Providence

Grant:  $150,000 remediation/redevelopment

Description: This grant will help the nonprofit arts center and shared studio build on prior remediation work, upgrade its facility, and expand its many offerings to the public.

 

Project: Pilgrim Screw

Address:  255 Dexter Street, Providence

Grant:  $100,000 site preparation and remediation

Description: Converting a 30,000-square-foot building used to manufacture screws into a mixed-use commercial-residential reuse.

Jobs: 4 construction jobs

 

Project: What Cheer Flower Farm

Address: 46 Atwood Street, Providence

Grant:  $50,000 site preparation

Description: This grant will allow the nonprofit farm to continue its “build-out” campaign, turning an abandoned factory into an urban farm and job-training center in the Olneyville neighborhood of Providence.

 

Related Slideshow: 24 Ways to Go Green This Fall - 2018

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Carve Fewer Jack-O-Lanterns 

Halloween celebrators beware!

According to the U.S. Energy Department, pumpkins cause major waste issues each year on Halloween. The majority of the 1.3 billion pounds of pumpkins produced in the U.S. end up in dumps and landfills, according to the Energy Department’s website.

The National Wildlife Federation suggests turning your pumpkin into a wildlife feeder, mainly for birds and squirrels. 

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Use Pinecones as Natural Bird Feeder

Are you an ornithology enthusiast? Do you love the sights and sounds of songbirds outside your window?

Keep your feathered friends returning to your yard by using a pinecone as a natural bird feeder. Recycle pinecones found in your yard by adding birdseed and peanut butter to your pinecone.

Find more instructions here.

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Turn Down the Thermostat

In order to save some energy (and some money) turn down your house's thermostat a few degrees this fall. You may not notice the difference, but the environment sure will.

Save on Energy's Gabi Itzler says to keep the thermostat at 68 degrees. 

If you're still a little cold, throw on a sweatshirt. For even more savings, turn your heat down even lower when your family leaves for work school or a vacation.

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Put Down The Leaf Blower

When it comes time to get all the fallen leaves off of your lawn, don't reach for your electric or gas-powered leaf blower. Appliances like those can release pollutants into the atmosphere, and that is definitely not going green.

Instead, use manual lawn tools like a rake to save energy. 

"Once you're done, reuse the leaves by transforming them into mulch for your plants or compost them to enrich your soil," wrote Itzler.

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Plant Some Bulbs

Think fall is for harvesting, not for planting? Think again!

Fall is the perfect time to plant spring-flowering plants like tulips to make sure you have gorgeous flowers when warmer weather rolls around again next year.

For more tips on fall planting, click here.

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Green Cleaning

Preparing for your holiday? Want to make sure your house is sparkling clean for your friends family and other guests?

Well, instead of using chemical-ridden commercial cleaners, try using homemade, all natural cleaning supplies. All you need are a few comments lemons, vinegar, and baking soda.

For more information, click here.

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Make Fewer Trips to Grocery Store

If you're headed to the grocery store to pick up food and supplies for your next party try to make as few trips as possible. You'll save money on gas, and have to drive less, making this a perfect way to go green.

If you can, try to get all your items at one store. This way, you'll use even less gas when shopping.

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Cooking and Baking

Making changes in the kitchen can help you go green as well. 

Energy Star estimates that you can reduce cooking energy by as much as 80 percent when using the microwave instead of the oven. 

They also add that when using the oven, make the most of it. For example, cooking more than one thing at a time. 

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Use Cloth Towels Instead

When you go to clean up the next glass of spilled milk don't cry—and don't reach for any paper towels.

Instead, try a cloth towel or rag. You can wash them repeatedly, save money on paper towels, and save the environment by creating less waste.

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Seal Drafts

To keep the cold fall wind out of your home, and keep your warm air inside, be sure to seal up any drafts around windows or doors in your house or apartment.

"If your air conditioning was running non-stop all summer, then you might have unnoticed leaks in your home. Before it gets too cold, check all your doors and windows for drafty chills that could keep your heater running non-stop too," writes Itzner.

Drafts can do serious damage to your heating bill, and will be a major drain on energy usage, so make sure to seal them up soon.

For more information on how to seal them, click here.

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Insulate Your Home

Insulation is one of the best ways to save money and energy in your home. Insulation will keep the cold air out of your home, and, better yet, keep the warm toasty air right inside your house where you want it.

If you better the insulation in your home, not only will your home be warmer, you'll go green and save money on your heating costs.

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Visit a Pick-Your-Own Farm

Visit a pick-your-own farm and grab some of the freshest food that you can find. 

Save on Energy writes, "visit a pick-your-own farm for fresh produce such as apples, pumpkins, and root vegetables. You may even find locations that let you pick fresh nuts such as pecans or walnuts."

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Walk & Bike More

There are only a few more weeks before the temperatures here in New England start to really dip to frigid numbers.

Enjoy the cool, crisp weather of fall and walk or ride your bike. You'll save on gas, save the environment, and it's good for you!

When it comes to getting to work, World Watch Institute says to "consider telecommuting if you live far from your work."

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Take Shorter Showers

Who doesn't love the feeling of a nice hot shower after spending some time outdoors in the brisk fall air?

Only one problem—those long showers waste lots of water. Try taking shorter showers in order to go green this fall.

Along with taking shorter showers, World Watch suggests Installing a low-flow showerhead.

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Opt-Out of Junk Mail

Junk mail is the worst. No one likes it, and it only serves to clutter up our homes, trash cans and landfills. But, did you know there is a way to "opt-out" of junk mail?

You can get off most unsolicited mail lists simply by calling 1-888-5-OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688).

Also, instead of browsing through catalogs, look at products online—most catalog companies publish online versions of their products, perfect for saving paper and going green.

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Car Pool

During the holiday season, there is plenty of energy to be saved on the highway by sharing rides with family members or friends headed to the same place.

Before you’re going somewhere, start thinking about who you might be able to carpool with and make arrangements so one car instead of two or three are on the road for the trip. Even if it’s just for a few miles, this adds up and can reduce gridlock and air pollution.

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Ditch Bottled Water 

Everyone knows that water is the healthiest beverage option, but next time, instead of grabbing for a bottle of water, drink tap water out of a reusable cup or bottle. 

World Watch says "use a water filter to purify tap water instead of buying bottled water. Not only is bottled water expensive, but it generates large amounts of container waste."

You can buy reusable water bottles at nearly any department or home goods store, and you'll save money by not constantly paying for bottled water.

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Open The Shades to Let Natural Light in

Few things can warm a room as well as the sun. Those warm rays of the sun can heat homes, even when temperatures outside begin to dip.

"Before you go to work, open your blinds or curtains in your home where the sun shines most. When you get home, don't forget to close them to lock in your free heat. In areas where your home doesn't get much sun, especially in areas shaded from trees, keep your curtains and blinds closed," writes Save on Energy's Craven.

In order to save energy and reduce heating costs, open your shades during sunny days, even on colder days. The sun's radiation will do the work so your home heating system doesn't have to.

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Recycle Batteries 

Changing the batteries to your smoke detector when you switch your clocks this Sunday? Make sure to recycle your batteries rather than throwing them away.

Recycling your batteries keeps them out of the landfill, where heavy metals may leak into the ground when the battery casing corrodes, causing soil and water pollution. If batteries are incinerated with household waste, the heavy metals in them may cause air pollution.

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Donate Old Clothes 

With the changing of the seasons comes the changing over of the closet from summer clothes to warmer clothes. 

If you come across clothes that you don't wear, donate them to a local shelter or thrift store, instead of just holding onto them. 

"Donate unwanted clothes to a thrift store so these unused garments can have a new life somewhere else," writes Itzler. 

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Schedule a Home Energy Audit

Want to know exactly how much energy you could be saving? Then schedule a home energy audit.

You can learn about opportunities for making your home more energy efficient and affordable.

For more on home energy audits, visit National Grid's website. 

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Don't Dry, Clean Only 

Dry cleaning is far more harmful to the environment than your standard load of laundry done in a conventional washing machine.

If you have clothes that can be machined washed rather than dry cleaning, try giving them a run through the washer. And, if you're in the market for a new wardrobe, don't buy clothes with the "dry-clean only" label on them.

"Wash clothes in cold water whenever possible. As much as 85 percent of the energy used to machine-wash clothes goes to heating the water.
Use a drying rack or clothesline to save the energy otherwise used during machine drying," says World Watch. 

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Reusable Lunch Boxes 

Do you send your kids off every day with their lunch in a brown paper bag? Try using a reusable lunch box instead to cut down on waste.

Even after middle and high schoolers have grown out of using their favorite superhero lunch box, there are plenty of subtle and understated designs to complement their style.

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Eat Less Meat

Unbeknownst to most people, meat requires a far larger ecological footprint to produce than fruits and vegetables.

World Watch suggest adding one extra meatless meal per week.

Next time you plan a family dinner, try cooking with more vegetables and less meat.

You'll save the environment and cook a healthier meal.

 
 

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