EAST PROVIDENCE — East Providence will soon be one of the beneficiaries of the Main Street Rhode Island Streetscape Improvement program. The city has been pegged to receive $75,000 earmarked to …
EAST PROVIDENCE — East Providence will soon be one of the beneficiaries of the Main Street Rhode Island Streetscape Improvement program. The city has been pegged to receive $75,000 earmarked to improve landscaping, lighting and façade upgrades in Watchemoket Square.
The program is administered through the office of Governor Gina M. Raimondo and the Commerce RI initiative. It’s the second round of funding to be disseminated through the effort.
“We were very pleased to have been selected for funding for Commerce RI's Main Street program,” said East Providence Planning Director Jeanne Boyle. “We will be using the funds for a combination of items including adding more landscaping at key locations such as the base of Warren Avenue and the new sculpture park. We also would like to include decorative lighting and the streets cape improvements we did a few years ago on the lower stretch of Warren Avenue. We anticipated this by including the electrical conduit we will need for the lighting.
“Regarding the facade improvement portion, the intent is to assist the businesses in Watchemoket Square with work they may need to do on the exterior of their properties. The assistance will come in a combination of grants and loans and will be putting together the program guidelines in the near future.”
According to Commerce RI, the Main Street Rhode Island Streetscape Improvement Fund awards grants or loans on a competitive basis for improvements to commercial districts. Funding is available for projects that improve the streetscape, such as enhanced sidewalks, new street furniture, new wayfinding signage, upgraded building facades or improved street lighting. Applicants must have matching funds of at least 30 percent of the total project cost, though matching funds can take multiple forms.
“There's been a lot of private investment in Watchemoket Square recently and we see it as a nascent arts and entertainment district and gateway to the Waterfront District,” Ms. Boyle added. “This assistance from Commerce RI will help to further the revitalization of Watchemoket Square.”
Added East Providence' chief Economic Planner Jim Moran, who wrote the grant for the city, “These grant funds will assist in the city’s efforts to establish Watchemoket Square as a growing arts and entertainment district with strong links to our increasingly exciting waterfront development efforts."