Providence given $200k grant to clean up local brownfields

June 29, 2015

The I-195 Redevelopment Commission just received a $200,000 federal grant to start proper clean up on local brownfields. Parcel 30, the land in question, is next to a new Johnson & Wales' construction project in Rhode Island, and has some overlap with Friendship and Clifford streets. It's within walking distance of downtown Providence, and is accessible to highways.

Joe Azrack, the chairman of the I-195 Redevelopment Commission, said of the cleanup that "addressing environmental considerations on the 195 land is an important accomplishment as we ready it for development. The brownfields grant will be utilized for remediation and preparing the land of Parcel 30 for development and capping."

The first records of contamination on Parcel 30 date back to the 1950s, when the land was occupied by residences and jewelry manufacturers. Soil levels at this site were shown to be contaminated by volatile organic compounds. 

The funding for this project was made possible by federal legislation championed by Senator Jack Reed in 2002. The brownfields program, which is run by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) works to fund both the assessment and cleanup of polluted lands,  as well as providing the job training necessary to finish the work in question. 

Speaking to Parcel 30 specifically, Senator Reed said that "not only will this federal investment help protect public health and the environment, but it will also allow the community to work in partnership to revitalize the area and strengthen the local economy."

Governor Gina Raimondo expects that the brownfield clean up will be a source of economic growth in the Providence area, and that the restored land will provide room for new businesses to grow.

Local governments should work with environmental consultants to ensure that brownfields are being revitalized properly.