PROVIDENCE – The R.I. Economic Development Corporation’s board of directors - headed by Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee - voted to adopt a plan focused on “revitalizing” sections of five urban communities: Providence, Pawtucket, Central Falls, Woonsocket and West Warwick, the EDC announced Tuesday.
The EDC’s Urban Revitalization subcommittee has named these affected communities “Main Street Corridor Districts.”
“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,” Chafee said in prepared remarks.
“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,” he added.
The plan follows the EDC’s March approval 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,” said a release.
Under the plan, the EDC would create a fund to provide small loans as well as foster partnerships with colleges, banks and branches of government to provide small businesses with financial and technical assistance.
“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,” said EDC board member Jerauld Adams.
“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,” added Adams.