RI DEM Awards $150,000 to the Steel Yard for remediation & redevelopment


The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) has announced its latest round of Brownfields Grant Awardees. The Steel Yard will receive $150,000 towards our Superstudio project for remediation and redevelopment of our historic industrial arts studio building. This grant will build upon our previous remediation work, upgrade our facility, and increase the quality of every Steel Yard program and project with clean and safer facilities.

The Steel Yard was named one of 12 projects across six cities and towns to split $2.6 million. Funding for these projects was made possible by the 2016 Green Economy Bond.

Earlier this year Governor Gina Raimondo and RI DEM Director Janet Coit joined us here at the Yard to announce the proposed 2018 Green Economy and Clean Water Bonds that provide funding to improve parks, bikeways, and recreational areas, preserve open space, stand up to climate change and clean up contaminated land for productive use.

"The Green Economy Bond is a huge success for the neighborhood," said Councilwoman Sabina Matos, "These brownfield investments continue to energize the Valley district."

"When we're able to clean up brownfields while also increasing our commitment to renewable energy, that's progress we can all be proud of. Cleaning up contaminated brownfields sites is one of the smartest investments government can make. I'm committed to funding these projects quickly, and I look forward to the success stories that this latest round of funding will set into motion," said Governor Gina Raimondo.

"DEM significantly increased the emphasis on the green energy reuse option in the scoring criteria for this request for proposals. It's terrific to see that three of the projects feature solar arrays and one will become a LEED-certified building. Supporting Question 3 will continue our positive trajectory toward cleaning up our waterways and contaminated sites, preserving farmland and open space, and ensuring our state remains a healthy and wonderful place to live, work, visit, and raise a family," said DEM Director Janet Coit.

View the full State Government Press Release here

Brownfield Grants Fast Facts

* DEM is awarding 13 brownfields grants to 12 projects (1 site is getting 2 grants).

* The projects are in Cranston, Newport, Pawtucket, Providence, Smithfield, and South Kingstown.

* Green and clean: projects include 1 solar farm, 2 rooftop solar arrays, and 1 LEED-certified apartment building with a green roof to collect stormwater.

* The grant awards total $2.6 million (the balance remaining from the 2016 Green Economy Bond).

* Of the 13 grants, 3 are for site assessment and 10 are for redevelopment.

Project Summaries

Project: The Steel Yard Address: 27 Sims Avenue, Providence Grant: $150,000 remediation/redevelopment Description: This grant will help the nonprofit arts center and shared studio build on prior remediation work, upgrade its facility, and expand its many offerings to the public.

Project: Gravelly Hill Road Solar Array Address: Gravelly Hill Road, South Kingstown Grants: $56,000 site preparation/assessment and $250,000 remediation/redevelopment Description: Conversion of a property on which waste once was disposed to a 3,200-kilowatt solar farm. Annually, energy credits offered to area municipalities will save $290,000. The array also will produce energy for 610 homes and reduce as much greenhouse gas as would be reduced by removing 871 cars from the road. Jobs: 40 construction jobs, 2 permanent jobs

Project: Gotham Greens Providence LLC Address: 555 Harris Avenue, Providence Grant: $250,000 remediation/redevelopment Description: The developer is taking a former General Electric manufacturing facility that's been vacant for 2 years and turning it into a 96,000-square-foot, commercial-scale, climate-controlled greenhouse that will grow vegetables and herbs year-round to supply RI retail, restaurant, and institutional food service customers. Jobs: 100 construction jobs, 65 permanent jobs

Project: Tallman/Shri Address: 390-392 Pine Street, Pawtucket Grant: $250,000 remediation/redevelopment Description: A former mill will be cleaned up to help prepare the site for an intended subdivision and the sale of one building to Shri Studio, a yoga studio. Jobs: 21 construction jobs, 45 permanent jobs

Project: Fountain Street Apartments Address: 78 Fountain Street, Providence Grant: $250,000 remediation/redevelopment Description: Once the home of the Coffee King building and now a dilapidated parking lot with contaminated soils, this will become a 173,000-square-foot, mixed-use LEED-certified apartment building in Downtown Providence. It will have a green roof for stormwater. Jobs: 250 construction jobs, 90 permanent jobs

Project: The former Cranston Police Station Address: 275 Atwood Avenue, Cranston Grant: $400,000 remediation/redevelopment Description: Former solid waste dumping area that's slated to become a retail center. Jobs: 50 construction jobs, 40 permanent jobs

Project: Blackstone Pawtucket LLC Address: 59, 65, and 70 Blackstone Avenue, Pawtucket Grant: $198,317 remediation/redevelopment Description: Transforming a former textile manufacturing building into a mixed-use commercial- residential complex. Developer will expand the Blackstone River Bikeway on the property and install solar arrays on two of the building rooftops to offset electrical consumption. Jobs: 85 construction jobs, 20 permanent jobs

Project: Georgiaville Village Green Address: 29 Whipple Avenue, Smithfield Grant: $150,000 redevelopment Description: Once remediation is complete, the longtime site of the Narragansett Gray Iron Foundry will become 42 units of affordable family housing with a rooftop solar installation to offset utility costs. Jobs: 25 construction jobs, 1 permanent job

Project: Coffey's Texaco Address: 48 Touro Street, Newport Grant: $250,000 remediation/redevelopment Description: The site of a gas station that has already undergone major cleanups to remove underground storage tanks and remediate petroleum impacts will be turned into a public park with a historic marker. It's the original location of Newport Town Spring. Jobs: 20 construction jobs, 2 permanent jobs

Project: Newport Grand - Phase 1 Address: 150 Admiral Kalbfus Road, Newport Grant: $250,000 remediation/redevelopment Description: The property on which stood Newport Grand requires significant environmental remediation before it can be put into a marketable condition - and to prevent the site from slipping into blight or disrepair. Jobs: 1,241 construction jobs, 565 permanent jobs

Project: Pilgrim Screw Address: 255 Dexter Street, Providence Grant: $100,000 site preparation and remediation Description: Converting a 30,000-square-foot building used to manufacture screws into a mixed-use commercial-residential reuse. Jobs: 4 construction jobs

Project: What Cheer Flower Farm Address: 46 Atwood Street, Providence Grant: $50,000 site preparation Description: This grant will allow the nonprofit farm to continue its "build-out" campaign, turning an abandoned factory into an urban farm and job-training center in the Olneyville neighborhood of Providence.

Excluding the most recent grant awardees, $7.4 million from DEM's Brownfields Remediation and Economic Development Fund has capitalized 33 projects in 12 communities across Rhode Island. This money has leveraged more than $630 million in other investment and supported around 5,000 jobs, helping build new schools, businesses, and affordable housing throughout the state.

The Steel Yard is an award-winning industrial arts center and Providence's largest private outdoor venue. The 3.8-acre campus, located in Providence's Industrial Valley, is a cultural asset that serves as a sponsor and catalyst for innovative approaches to urban revitalization, arts promotion, workforce development, and community growth. The professional workspace allows for community access to equipment for welding, blacksmithing, jewelry, ceramics, and the foundry arts. The facilities at the Yard have become a vital component in the careers of hundreds of independent craftspeople and entrepreneurs who would not otherwise have the capacity to establish their businesses or perfect their crafts while allowing educators the ability to teach students new skills in a creative and communal environment. Over the last 10 years, the Steel Yard has contributed something distinct to the Arts community in Rhode Island by creating shared professional workspace, a venue for the advancement of new sculptural mediums, and a broader definition of public-art.

The Board


Board Chair: Jennifer Carnevale, Board Secretary: Megan Boyaval, Board Treasurer: Frank Previti, Rafael Cerrada, Damian Ewens, Colin Murphy, Manya Rubinstein, Brigitte Shaffer, Emily Vander Does