This week, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 8294, an Appropriations package laying out Fiscal Year 2023 funding for Transportation, Housing and Urban Development; Agriculture, Rural Development; Energy and Water Development; Financial Services and General Government; Military Construction, and Veterans Affairs; and the Interior, Environment. Included in this package is funding for 11 projects that the Congressman David N. Cicilline (RI-01) submitted to the Appropriations Committee on behalf of his constituents and local organizations.
“I’m proud that all of the projects I fought to include in this bill were passed this week. These 11 projects will help Rhode Island families with childcare and affordable housing, with the development and expansion of community centers, allow for better fire protection, and help us develop a safer, cleaner, and more efficient water supply for our homes, schools, and businesses,” said Congressman Cicilline.
Included in H.R. 8294 is funding for the following projects:
East Providence Community Center: $3,000,000
The funding would be used to support the development of a community center for use by youth, families, older residents, and civic organizations. The new center would allow East Providence to offer recreation programming, job training, health monitoring services, public safety training, community meetings, and more. The center would also be utilized by the East Providence Police Department to conduct training and community police outreach programming. City residents have expressed their support for additional recreational space via the approval of two voter referendums to issue bonds for construction of a new recreation center. The City lacks community space, and the addition of this Center would be a tremendous resource where residents could easily access key programming and services.
Renovation of Boys & Girls Clubs of Newport County’s (BGCNC) Clubhouse: $750,000
The funding would be used to support the renovation and expansion of BGCNC’s Central Clubhouse, which would double the center’s childcare capacity. When completed in its entirety, the project would result in the addition of a third floor consisting of 3,500 square feet and the reconfiguration of 3,000 square feet on the existing floors, all of which will be utilized for childcare programming. The project would add 102 childcare slots to be filled by children from low-income households in the community, thereby increasing access to affordable childcare in Newport County, giving more children the support they need for a lifetime of learning, allowing family members to remain in the workforce, and enabling caregivers to enter and stay employed in this critical field.
Progreso Latino, Inc. Facility Purchase and Renovation: $3,000,000
This funding would be used to purchase and renovate a new facility for Progresso Latino, a Latino-led, community-based organization that was established in 1977 and serves up to 15,000 people annually. The organization offers bilingual programs, including early education, adult education, workforce development, domestic violence prevention and intervention, immigration and social services, financial literacy and volunteer income tax assistance, small business development, senior programs, health and wellness programs, and a food pantry. Community demand for Progreso Latino’s services has outgrown the capacity of its current location. Funding would enable the organization to move into a larger space where they would be able to offer expanded programming to the community.
MacColl YMCA Nature Studies Center & Outdoor Pavilion: $750,000
This funding would be used to construct a new outdoor pavilion that would offer a sheltered outdoor classroom space and an area for additional programming. The MacColl YMCA is a heavily utilized site with more than 17,000 visits monthly. The Pavilion would be the only outdoor structure of its kind in the area, and the YMCA would make it available for use by the community. The addition of the outdoor programming space will support enhanced services and offer an area that can be utilized during times of inclement weather.
North Smithfield Senior/Multigenerational Facility Construction: $4,000,000
This funding would be used to convert the existing community space, Scouters Hall, into a full-service senior center with an outdoor seating area and walking paths. The senior center would provide a space where older adults can participate fully in the community, socialize, and receive essential services and assistance. The long-term goal of the Town is to transform Scouters Hall into a multigenerational facility that could be utilized by residents of all ages.
City of Pawtucket Land Acquisition for the Development of Affordable Housing: $2,000,000
The funding would be used to acquire vacant or blighted properties in the City of Pawtucket to redevelop them into safe and affordable housing. Based on current median housing prices, the City would aim to acquire five to six properties to be redeveloped for multi-family, owner-occupied, first-time homebuyers. Many residents in the City of Pawtucket are cost-burdened by their housing expenses. This project would help the City address the lack of affordable housing by creating new residential units. Additionally, this project would remove blighted lots, which have a negative impact on communities by decreasing surrounding property values, reducing local tax revenue, and posing safety hazards.
Repurposing Osram-Sylvania to Meet Central Falls’ Economic and Housing Needs: $2,600,000
The funding would be used to support the development of thirty-six units of affordable and market-rate housing, open space, parking, and ground-level commercial space. Central Falls, Rhode Island’s most socioeconomically disadvantaged community, has reached an agreement with the new owner of the former Osram-Sylvania lightbulb manufacturing facility to acquire a portion of the 9.5-acre site for redevelopment. The project would involve the acquisition of two acres to be redeveloped for community use. Once completed in its entirety, the project would result in the creation of 110 units of housing. Aside from helping to alleviate housing issues in the City, the redevelopment will create jobs during construction and will support new economic development in the commercial space.
Touisset Fire Protection, Town of Warren: $825,000
This funding would be used to install underground water storage tanks in Touisset Point, a densely populated area where there is currently no public water supply and, consequently, no water available for fire protection. Homes in the area either rely on individual wells or are connected to a community well, which is shallow and does not provide sufficient flow for fire protection purposes. The area has experienced residential fires over the past two years, resulting in total losses for two properties. This investment would provide important resources to address local public safety concerns.
Town of Smithfield for a Water and Sewer Project- $840,000
This funding would be used for the initial phase of a utility extension project in Smithfield that would eventually provide municipal sewer and water to properties within the Town’s designated growth center along George Washington Highway, Route 116. The proposed first leg of the utility extension includes extending an 8-inch water main and a 15-inch sewer main approximately 830 feet to George Washington Highway. This designated growth center is a 71-acre area that has not developed to its full potential due, in part, to a lack of basic infrastructure to support municipal sewers and water. This project would immediately benefit several existing industrial, manufacturing, office, retail, hospitality, and mixed-use properties, while also allowing for future business and economic development within the designated growth center.
Town of Bristol for the Sewer Rehabilitation Area 2 and 3 Project: $1,248,000
This funding would be used to support the rehabilitation of 11,500 linear feet of asbestos cement gravity sewer pipes and associated manholes. Bristol has an aged collection system, with parts dating back to the 1910s. More than half of the system is between 31 and 50 years old, and materials used for construction, particularly clay pipe and asbestos cement pipes, are worsening in condition. Rehabilitation or replacement of failing pipelines would help ensure a safe conveyance of wastewater to the wastewater handling facility, lessen basement back-ups and sanitary sewer overflow occurrences resulting from failed pipes, and reduce infiltration by limiting pathways for groundwater to enter the system.
Town of Cumberland for a Returning Stormwater Runoff Project: $1,200,000
This funding would be used to address chronic stormwater drainage issues in the largest industrial park in Cumberland. The 68-acre business park is home to the largest employers in the Town. In recent years, the operations of these businesses have been impacted by flooding with increased frequency due to extreme weather events caused by climate change. The project would fund installation of infrastructure to efficiently collect and treat stormwater run-off and transport it into the State’s drainage system. This project would resolve chronic flooding in the area, helping to protect other infrastructure that is degraded by the flood water. This effort would also support improved economic activity as business operations would not be impeded during storm events. Lastly, capture, treatment, and incorporation of runoff into the State stormwater system would help protect water and environmental quality, benefitting Rhode Islanders.
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