NORTH SMITHFIELD – A new state program focused on kick-starting municipal projects will provide up to $100,000 toward a plan to redevelop a North Smithfield village.
The state will award the town funding for design and permitting efforts in Branch Village, a mixed use area that stretches through the northeast section of North Smithfield, through the Site Readiness Program.
The town will be among 15 recipients in the first round of the grant program, which partners Rhode Island Commerce with municipalities, companies and developers, with the goal of improving development processes throughout the state.
“With a series of modest but important investments, this initiative is helping to prepare sites for a range of development — from industrial to residential to wind energy-related projects,” said Rhode Island Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor in announcing the winners.
The program was formed as part of Gov. Gina Raimondo’s 2020 budget, and supported by the General Assembly. Rhode Island Commerce will allocate more than $800,000 across the 15 municipalities, following an application process that brought in requests for some 22 different projects totaling $4.4 million.
Plans to revitalize the village, described by RIC as an 80-acre industrial-business park site, have been underway for more than a decade, with an analysis of the project completed by PARE Corporation in 2008. The town hopes to create more direct access to what is currently a scattered area of retail and commercial development along 146A and St. Paul Street.
In addition to traffic improvements, North Smithfield’s Comprehensive Plan points to the need to improve infrastructure, including sewer access, attract more business to the area, and develop walking and biking trails.
The grant funding will be used to procure professional services to begin the civil design and permitting effort in the village.
Award winners across the state also include the city of Woonsocket, which will work with the Economic Development Foundation on master planning and engineering studies for Highland Park, with the help of a grant of up to $48,500.
In Providence, $15,200 will be used to support architectural and structural engineering for Rhode Island’s first nonprofit flower farm and job training site.
“These projects will spur economic growth and make nearly 300 acres of land across our state ready for potential development.” said Raimondo.
The complete list of award winners can be found here.