Grow Smart Rhode Island
Smart Growth e-Briefs
  News and Tools for People Making a Difference January 2004  

This Month

Mill project lands software firm as major tenant

Brownfields News

Grow Smart introduces new website features

Governor's Growth Planning Council adopts Pilot Growth Centers

RI's next corporate giant supports smart growth

Smart Stuff

Small towns, affordable housing get boost from new federal law


Land conservation financing tool

Grassroots environment fund announces area grants

Grow Smart Board of Directors

Michael F. Ryan
Chairman of the Board

Susan Arnold
William Baldwin
S. James Busam
Joseph Caffey
Robert L. Carothers
Arnold Chace
Jen Cookke
Trudy Coxe
Peter Damon
Louise Durfee
Stephen J. Farrell
Thomas E. Freeman
J. Joseph Garrahy
John R. Gowell, Jr.
Stephen Hamblett
Robert Harding
Michael S. Hudner
Stanley J. Kanter
Howard M. Kilguss
Thomas A. Lawson
Dennis Langley
James Leach
Frederick Lippitt
Roger Mandle
Rev. James C. Miller
George Nee
B. Michael Rauh, Jr.
Gary Sasse
Richard Schartner
Deming Sherman
Merrill Sherman
Curt Spalding
James F. Twaddell
Sandra Whitehouse
Frederick C. Williamson
W. Edward Wood

Board Listing with Affiliation (pdf)


Scott Wolf
Executive Director

Sheila Brush
Director of Programs

John Flaherty
Director of Research & Communications

Lynn Burns
Office Manager / Executive Assistant

Dorothy Dauray
Office Assistant

Linsey Cameron
Research Assistant

About Us

Grow Smart Rhode Island is a statewide public policy group representing a broad coalition of partners fighting sprawl and promoting innovative policies and programs to revitalize city and town centers, preserve cultural and natural resources and expand economic opportunity throughout Rhode Island.

If you Appreciate our Work....

... please make a contribution. Grow Smart depends on tax-deductible contributions from concerned individuals and organizations to lead the charge for better-managed growth, a strong, sustainable economy, a healthy environment and a just society for all Rhode Islanders. Simply click on the credit card below to make a donation.
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What is Smart Growth?

   Dear John,

Welcome to the January issue of "Smart Growth e-Briefs", a monthly update of the latest happenings in the smart growth movement from Grow Smart Rhode Island.
Underlined text indicates a link to further information on that subject.

  • Mill project lands software firm as major tenant
  •    RIEDC Director Michael McMahon: Company's decision shows "we don't have to tear up sod farms" of South County to create good places for companies to settle.

    The Rising Sun Mills redevelopment project, a joint venture of Baltimore-based Struever Bros., Eccles & Rouse and Providence-based Armory Revival Company announced it has secured a 10-year lease agreement with Abaqus, Inc. for 72,000 square feet of office space to accommodate 240 employees. The Pawtucket-based company reportedly needs a larger facility to accommodate its rapid growth.

    Jay Fluck of the real estate brokerage firm CB Richard Ellis-N.E. Partners was instrumental in putting the lease deal together. Rising Sun Mills is the centerpiece of a planned $100 million redevelopment of several blocks in the Valley and Olneyville neighborhoods of Providence. The entire project is expected to be completed over five years.

    -Read the Providence Journal article - 1/6
    -More on the Rising Sun Mills project

  • Brownfields News

    Workshop Generates Insight from Developers
    A Special House Commission studying ways to promote brownfields remediation and reuse held a focus group workshop on Friday, December 5th that attracted more than 40 participants to the State House. Co-sponsored by Grow Smart, the State Senate, RIEDC and RIDEM, the purpose of the forum was to hear directly from brownfield developers about exactly what state-led measures would best promote further redevelopment of hundreds of brownfield sites into productive, tax-generating real estate.

    Sandra Whitehouse, the Commission's environmental policy consultant, is releasing a report that summarizes workshop findings including feedback on an expedited review process, risk management solutions, state-initiated site preparation, a state brownfields redevelopment tax credit and expanded lending options.

    -Read the draft summary report and see who participated
    -See who's on the Commission

    DEM Accepting Brownfield Assessment Grant Applications until January 30th
    RI DEM reminds municipalities, non-profits (particularly those partnered with municipalities) and Indian tribes interested in the redevelopment of brownfields to apply for Targeted Brownfields Assessment (TBA) grants. Funded by the U.S. EPA, DEM is administering the grants through its Office of Solid Waste Management. The purpose of the TBA program is to provide independent environmental assessments of brownfield sites to determine the actual extent and severity of any contamination if present. The funding is strictly for assessment work.

    -Read letter of invitation
    -Download application (PDF)

  • Grow Smart introduces new website features
  •    "News Aggregator" Captures, Displays News 24/7
    Grab your morning coffee and start the day with us. Grow Smart saves you time. Our custom news aggregator does all the heavy lifting to bring you daily headlines from around New England and around the world. Topics include land use, community and economic development, housing, historic preservation and land conservation. Make Grow Smart your default homepage and stay informed. Just go to your internet browser, click "tools", then "internet options" and edit the homepage to "". It's that simple.
    Take a Look

    Smart Growth Toolbox Brings Resources Together
    There are many complex and technical issues involved in building smarter, vibrant communities. The Grow Smart Toolbox provides an overview of key resources including an introduction to smart growth, smart growth planning and implementation tools, model ordinances, case studies, citizen involvement strategies and references on additional information sources for those who want to know more.
    Browse the Toolbox Now

  • Governor's Growth Planning Council adopts Pilot Growth Centers
  •    In an effort to advance the concept and benefits of establishing a statewide growth centers policy, the Governor's Growth Planning Council, under the leadership of RIEDC Director Michael McMahon and RIDEM Acting Director Fred Vincent, officially designated redevelopment projects in East Providence and Burrillville as pilot growth centers. The unanimous vote of the Council at its December 16th meeting comes as it refines a strategy for avoiding sprawl by directing discretionary state resources to encourage investment in areas that muncipalities have designated for growth.

    John O'Brien, a member of the Council and Director of the Rhode Island Statewide Planning Program has been charged with leading a task force to present specific recommendations for how the state might allocate such discretionary resources. The Council meets again on Monday, March 8, 2004.

    -Read about how Growth Centers can benefit your community (pdf)
    -See who's on the Council

  • RI's next corporate giant supports smart growth
  •    As Rhode Island awaits the arrival of its newest corporate citizen following Bank of America's announced plan to purchase of Fleet Bank, Grow Smart Rhode Island is encouraged by the company's record of commitment to the smart growth movement.

    Through community development lending, contaminated properties redevelopment, growth management and inner city revitalization, Bank of America has demonstrated a commitment to sustainable development initiatives in partnership with the Urban Land Institute.

    Read more about Bank of America's Smart Growth Initiatives

  • Smart Stuff

    Each month Grow Smart highlights a sampling of policy developments or other creative smart growth initiatives being implemented around Rhode Island.
    Do you have a story to tell? (click here to share it with us)

    East Providence
    -City partners with developer to reclaim waterfront, expand tax base
    -Read the Providence Journal article - 12/20
    -New remediation technology will be put to the test in RI

    -Planners shape an ambitious vision for a town center

    -Council approves plan to encourage waterfront development

    -Nutmeg State schedules hearings for implementing smart growth principles in 2004-2009

  • Small towns, affordable housing get boost from new federal law

    President Bush signed a bill into law on December 16 that channels new resources to main street redevelopment efforts that aim to turn otherwise underused or vacant property into productive use for housing. As part of the "American Dream Downpayment Act" (S-811), the bill authorizes HUD to allocate up to five percent (5%) of HOPE VI funds to facilitate the development of affordable housing for low-income families that is undertaken in connection with a "main street revitalization or redevelopment project".

    Main street projects are those located in small communities that are designed to revitalize or redevelop an historic or traditional commercial area, involve investment or participation by the government of the locality and private entities and comply with historic preservation guidelines or principles. The program, with grants of up to $1,000,000, is limited to communities that have a population of 50,000 or less.

    Read more about it

  •    January 22, February 5, 12
    Making Good Land Use Decisions:
    Municipal training workshop for officials in Barrington, Bristol and Warren sponsored by Grow Smart.

    Note: Officials who have attended training in the past and want to attend a make-up session can do so free of charge. If space permits, new registrants from other communities will also be welcome.
    Email your request

    January 22-24
    3rd Annual New Partners for Smart Growth Conference
    Penn State University / Local Government Commission
    Portland, OR

    Thursday, January 29
    RI League of Cities & Towns 4th Annual Convention 8:00 am - 9:30 pm
    Crowne Plaza Hotel

    Submit a "February Event" for next month's e-brief by clicking here

  • Land Conservation Financing Resource

    Land Conservation Financing provides a comprehensive overview of successful land conservation programs -- how they were created, how they are funded, and what they've accomplished -- along with detailed case studies from across the United States.

    This 223-page book presents important new information on state-of-the-art approaches to financing land conservation in the United States. It showcases state programs that have become the nation's leaders in open-space protection and looks at key local land protection efforts by examining model programs in many areas across the country.

    Find out more


  • Grassroots environment fund announces area grants

    The New England Grassroots Environment Fund (NEGEF) announced grants to several environmental causes in Rhode Island. Among the recipients were the Cumberland Land Trust ($1,500), Potters Avenue Neighborhood Group - Providence ($2,000), Cumberland Concerned Citizens ($2,000), Kickemuit River Council - Warren ($2,000), Mill Cove Conservancy - Warwick ($1,500), Reject Any Fast Tracking - Cumberland ($2,000) and the South County Conservancy ($2,000).

    NEGEF is a small grants program designed to foster and give voice to grassroots environmental initiatives in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. It provides grants of up to $2,500 to fuel civic engagement, local activism, and social change.

    -Find out how the grants were used in RI
    -Learn more about NEGEF


    Grow Smart Rhode Island
    345 South Main Street
    Providence RI 02903

    phone: 401-273-5711

    Grow Smart Rhode Island · 345 South Main Street · Providence · RI · 02876

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