Governor McKee Announces Over $1.4 Million in Main Street Improvements for Communities Across Rhode Island

Published on Thursday, August 17, 2023

PROVIDENCE, RI – Governor Dan McKee today announced ten projects across Rhode Island that will share over $1.47 million for improvements to commercial districts. The Main Street RI Streetscape Improvement Fund grants will help pay for safer sidewalks, new way-finding signage, upgraded building facades, and better street lighting. 

“Main Streets are the center of economic development in our cities and towns,” said Governor Dan McKee. “As a former mayor, I know the difficulty in finding funding for improvement projects such as these. Making these investments are important for the success of our businesses and communities.”

Through the Main Street RI Streetscape Improvement Fund, the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation (Commerce) awards grants to municipalities and economic development agencies to help revitalize main streets and downtown business districts, generating activity in these areas. Eligible projects must be in areas that are walkable and attract residents and visitors.

"The Main Street RI Streetscape Improvement Fund is an opportunity to think of our roads as not just a way to move cars, but as the shared public spaces they are," said Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos. "By making streets safer, more accessible, and more enjoyable, we're maximizing the amount of space in our communities that are dedicated to the people who live there. That benefits local businesses and makes our neighborhoods stronger!"

“The Main Street RI Streetscape Improvement Fund is one of many tools Commerce uses to help bolster the economies of our communities and our state,” said Liz Tanner, Rhode Island Secretary of Commerce. “When we support improvements to Main Streets, downtown districts, and new commercial and mixed-use spaces, we help pave the way for new small businesses and economic expansion.”

Commerce will open a second round of applications in late 2023 to seek additional projects under the Main Street Streetscape Improvement Fund Initiative. To date, the state has awarded $3 million under the program.

List of Projects to Receive Funding:

Black Block Community Foundation - $150,000 to assist in the installation of large murals and other improvements to increase foot traffic and public art in Pawtucket.

Blackstone Valley Tourism Council - $25,000 to support the implementation of a new wayfinding system, to include related social media and physical signage, featuring the Pawtucket Visitor Center.

City of Cranston - $125,000 to revitalize a major business corridor and neighborhood in the heart of the city. Funding will help implement ADA accessible walkways, more streetlighting for pedestrian safety, trash receptacles and more.

Providence Downtown Improvement District (DID) - $100,000 to help maintain and improve the cleanliness of the City of Providence. Fundings will support replacing 100 trash receptacles initially purchased in 2005.

Southside Community Land Trust - $200,000 to help revitalize Haward Linden Plaza in Providence, including new trees, fencing, pollinator habitats, permeable ground surfaces for parking, demarcated space for garden resource distribution, bike racks, new crosswalk striping, pedestrian scale lighting, and an enclosed space for waste and recycling dumpsters.

The Block Island Chamber of Commerce - $123,000 to expand the Mary D Park, including extensive landscaping, the installation of a new pathway, and the rebuilding of a historic stone wall.

The Pawtucket Foundation - $110,000 to fully light the interior of Pawtucket’s Main Street Garage and to support the planned street conversion of 1-way roads to 2-way traffic to provide better access to amenities in the area.

Town of Burrillville - $40,000 to add to the momentum created by significant investment into the Pascoag and Harrisville Redevelopment districts, by adding year-round lights over Main Street, and installing illuminated displaces in green spaces to help attract visitors.

Town of Cumberland - $350,000 to help expand upon the $66M redevelopment of Ann & Hope Way and install streetscape enhancements to improve local connectivity. The funds will support the purchase and installation of lights, landscape improvements, and distinctive street signs.

Town of Lincoln - $250,000 to improve pedestrian safety and implement ADA standard sidewalks. Funding will also support landscape improvements along sidewalks.

Last week, Governor McKee also announced the recipients of $650,000 in Site Readiness Awards to help stimulate local economic development. Read a list of recipients here.