Five-year plan to invest $222M in Public Space, Public Property, Public Parks and City Connectivity
January 9, 2020
PROVIDENCE, RI – Mayor Jorge O. Elorza today joined Majority Whip and Finance Committee Chairman John Igliozzi, Zuccolo Recreation Center Director Jackie Poulios, community member Anne Tait and others to sign the third iteration of Providence’s comprehensive Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) at Zuccolo Recreation Center. This comprehensive list of projects invests in roads, sidewalks, parks, recreation centers and publicly-owned facilities with a focus on the long-term resiliency of the city. Initial funding of the plan was unanimously approved by the Providence City Council resolution on December 19 to support an investment of $115 million over the next two years. The final FY2020-FY2024 Capital Improvement Plan was approved unanimously by the Council on January 2, with projects beginning later this year.
“We are building a strong city from the ground up by addressing our major challenges through long-term planning and a firm commitment to proactive improvements,” said Mayor Jorge Elorza. “Along with record-level investments in our school buildings, our city is now making more infrastructure investments than at any point in its recent history. This work not only increases connectivity between neighbors and improves their quality of life; it provides visitors and businesses with the city services and public spaces that they deserve.”
The project list signed today proposes $222 million in improvements, coordinated within the City’s current and future financial framework over the next five years. Though primarily funded through the issuance of municipal bonds, other funding sources may include general fund allocations, federal community development block grants, or other outside resources. Through budget and debt service forecasting, the City ensures that the projects outlined within the CIP do not create unsustainable financing and funding obligations to its year-to-year operating budget. Additionally, both projects and corresponding funding sources are identified by Department Directors, prioritized and coordinated by the Administration, and reviewed once more before approval by the City Council.
City Council President Sabina Matos (Ward 15) stated, “The Capital Improvement Plan is an important tool in helping to develop and further our commitment to our neighborhoods’ parks, schools, roads, and sidewalks. We are in a unique position where our financial outlook is one that will allow us to tackle some of the larger projects that we have not been able to address until now. I want to thank Chairman John J. Igliozzi, Esq. and the members of the Council’s Committee on Finance, along with City Treasurer James Lombardi III, Esq., our Internal Auditor Gina Costa, and the City’s finance team headed by Chief Financial Officer Lawrence Mancini for helping us develop and realize this ambitious five-year plan.”
This comprehensive approach, introduced in the Elorza Administration’s first CIP, strategically prioritizes investments in public works ($102,985,000), parks ($27,624,500) and facilities ($62,160,831), while increasing citywide connectivity ($29,760,000) and making sustainable changes for a more resilient future. Aligned with the City’s goal to become a carbon-neutral city by 2050 and improving the City’s climate resilience, over $10-million will be invested into green infrastructure, improving green spaces with the goal of better managing stormwater runoff, and other flood and climate mitigation measures.
The City will continue to build upon the work done in prior years to repair roads and sidewalks improving accessibility and implementing traffic-calming measures to ensure that all residents are able to safely navigate our city streets. Critical improvements in urban trails, bicycle, and pedestrian amenities will support efforts to increase mobility, encourage multi-modal transportation and put Providence at the cutting edge of urban design.
Parks will continue to see community-driven renovations the Elorza Administration has prioritized, some spaces seeing improvements for the first time in nearly forty years recently. Other public facilities, including public safety buildings and recreation centers, will see historic investments to ensure their longevity and improve the services they provide to the community. Zuccolo Recreation Center, where the signing took place, is one of several recreation centers included in the CIP and will see $175,000 of investments to the structure of the building and the pool, used by youth and community members year-round. In the past five years, two new recreation centers were opened and $5 summer day camps were launched and expanded to provide families with programming options.
In addition to these priority areas, the CIP advances the City’s goal of building upon existing public art through the Art in City Life Ordinance. The Department of Arts, Culture + Tourism will work to ensure the preservation and curation of public monuments and memorials here in the Creative Capital.
Though funding for school infrastructure improvements is a different process included in a separate plan, the passage of the CIP coupled with unprecedented investments in Providence Public Schools over the next five years marks transformative investments in the city’s infrastructure.
Projects expected for FY21 will be introduced alongside the Mayor’s budget in April. For a breakdown of investments happening over the next five years or where investments are being actualized across the city, residents should visit www.pvdcapitalimprovementplan.com.