East Providence is next line for Municipal Resilience Program grant funding

Some monies would likely support needed seawall repair in Riverside

By Mike Rego
Posted 4/7/21

EAST PROVIDENCE — East Providence is next in line as a “cohort” with The Nature Conservancy and the Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank enrolling in the Municipal Resilience Grant …

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East Providence is next line for Municipal Resilience Program grant funding

Some monies would likely support needed seawall repair in Riverside

Posted

EAST PROVIDENCE — East Providence is next in line as a “cohort” with The Nature Conservancy and the Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank enrolling in the Municipal Resilience Grant Program focused on responding to climate change in municipalities.

The environmental bond voters approved at the March 2 special election included $7 million to expand MRP, giving the program a boost.

Barrington, Warren, Bristol and Little Compton have already gone through the program and received a portion of the $1.5 million in available action grants both in 2019 and 2020. As an example, neighboring Barrington received $201,000 for coastal restoration of flood mitigation at Walker Farm and green infrastructure for water quality benefits at Bowden and Opechee Streets.

According to the organization, TNC works closely with town planners through MRP, helping put the local stakeholder group together, assessing local strengths and vulnerabilities to climate change, facilitating a community workshop and translating this community-wide conversation into an action plan. Which areas flood now and are likely to get worse? Where is polluted stormwater pouring directly into a river or stream? Where are the opportunities for smart development and adding street trees? Things like that. Participating communities are then eligible for grants from the Infrastructure Bank to carry out projects that were identified in the plan.

Said Sue AnderBois, TNC’s Climate and Energy Program Manager, “These action grants from R.I. Infrastructure Bank are a critical down payment to improve water quality, reduce air pollution and create healthier communities for generations to come.”

In city, Planning and Economic Development Department Director Bill Fazioli said the administration of Mayor Bob DaSilva endeavors to conduct an analysis of potential East Providence projects in the spring and summer. Mr. Fazioli said already a top priority is the reconstruction of the sea wall at Larisa Park in Riverside.

At the April 6 meeting of the City Council, Mr. Fazioli elaborated a bit more on the topic.

He noted Council President and Ward 1 member Bob Britto had urged the administration to seek out such sources of funding, adding “This year we applied and were accepted into the program, so we’re very excited about that.”

He continued, saying the near-term aims will be to set up workshops with members of The Nature Conservancy and city staff to “identify areas we should be focusing on in terms of climate change and sea level rise.”

Mr. Fazioli said those engagements will take place through the summer with the intention of reporting back the results to the council sometime this fall.

East Providence is joined as a cohort in the 2021 program by Cumberland. Jamestown, New Shoreham, North Kingstown and Providence. A minimum of $1 million in MRP Action Grants are available to each cohort for eligible projects in the year they participate. Eligible projects are required to be identified through the Community Resilience Building process, improve climate resilience, and a capital investment resulting in construction. MRP Action Grants are not available for research-related activities such as studies and strategic plans.

Grant eligibility must fall under Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank’s broad portfolio of programs and can include but not limited to, dam repair and removal, road elevation, hardening or elevation of pump stations, berms and levies, culvert repair, green stormwater infrastructure, back-up power and energy efficiency, watershed restoration, urban tree planting and coastal erosion control. Municipalities will be required to match grants with a 25 percent local project cost share.

2021 by East Bay Newspapers

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