Governor Chafee and the RIEDC Board Move to Revitalize and Rebrand Urban Communities, Help Small Businesses Succeed
Related Media Coverage and Links
Governor Lincoln D. Chafee has called for FY 2013 to be the “Year of the Cities and Towns.” As part of the Governor’s focus on strengthening municipalities, the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation (RIEDC) Board of Directors, chaired by Governor Chafee, today voted to adopt a focused, yet flexible, work plan aimed at revitalizing urban communities and helping small businesses succeed in traditionally underserved areas of the state.
The blueprint to revitalize urban communities follows the RIEDC Board’s approval in March of plans to provide better access to capital for businesses and streamline state and local regulatory processes. The multi-pronged effort is part of a comprehensive strategy to improve Rhode Island’s business climate and accelerate job growth.
“As a former mayor of Rhode Island’s second largest city, I understand the many challenges municipalities and local small businesses face. Our urban areas have great potential to be engines of economic expansion and job creation for the entire state,” Governor Chafee said. “I am pleased that today we are taking steps toward providing coordination at the state, municipal and neighborhood level to support locally-initiated redevelopment opportunities and help urban small businesses succeed.”
The RIEDC Board’s Urban Revitalization subcommittee and RIEDC staff have worked over the past several months with the Governor’s Office, municipalities and various community and business stakeholders to develop a roadmap for establishing a community-driven demonstration program in selected “Main Street Corridor Districts” within Rhode Island’s five most distressed urban municipalities which include: Providence, Pawtucket, Central Falls, West Warwick, and Woonsocket.
The plan sets clear, adaptable and measurable action steps to: a) increase access to urban small business financing and technical assistance, b) better coordinate government services, c) support community-initiated, mixed-use redevelopment, d) encourage private investment, and e) position urban communities as attractive places to live, work and visit.
“By working with state agencies, local officials, neighborhood leaders and other stakeholders, we’ll be able to pool our energies and resources to provide an economic shot in the arm to Main Street Corridor Districts that can become models for urban revitalization throughout the state. Our goal is to empower small businesses and community groups to make their communities exciting centers of entrepreneurial activity, cultural vibrancy and smart urban planning,” said Jerauld Adams, member of the RIEDC Board’s Urban Revitalization subcommittee and President of North American Industries.
“We’re taking significant steps to harness the vitality of Rhode Island’s urban centers to generate economic growth statewide. Our urban communities already have the concentrated workforce, market opportunities, infrastructure and cultural assets in place to attract capital investment,” said RIEDC Executive Director Keith Stokes. “With our partners, we will build on these strengths so small businesses can better access the financial, technical support and workforce training tools they need. We now have a game plan to align existing federal, state and local resources that will create new job and redevelopment opportunities within Rhode Island’s urban areas and surrounding communities.”