By Rebecca Keister
PBN Staff Writer
PROVIDENCE - Grow Smart Rhode Island presented its inaugural Smart Growth Awards to 12 different people and projects during its 4th biennial Power of Place Summit.
The summit, which took place at the Rhode Island Convention Center on Friday, was designed to honor programs that perpetuate the state’s sustainable economic growth.
“We thought, as we look at the number of projects, policies, and plans that are coming on line in Rhode Island at time when there’s so much negativity in the state, we felt it was important that this story get out to the broader public,” said Scott Wolf, Grow Smart executive director. “It’s all part of our effort to change the mindset of Rhode Island.”
Arnold Chace and Johnnie Chace of Cornish Associates and Rep. Jay O’Grady were honored as Outstanding Smart Growth Leaders.
Cornish Associates were the real estate development company behind the “adaptive reuse” of seven buildings in Providence’s Downcity neighborhood as part of its Urban Revitalization project and O’Grady has worked since 2010 on several smart growth policy reforms.
“The Chaces have had a major impact on a key part of our state. We just think they’re an inspiring couple. They’re great developers, activist, and community-spirited leaders,” Wolf sad.
“O’Grady has just been terrific at championing smart growth policy and he does a masterful job of [communicating] complicated proposals to his colleagues and others in the community,” added Wolfe
The day-long summit, attended by an estimated 500 state and local officials as well as business leaders and other professionals, featured workshops on community growth planning, public-private partnerships, financing and navigating regulations as well as a smart growth progress report led by Kevin M. Flynn, associate director, Rhode Island Division of Planning.
Grow Smart R.I. also honored projects including the Hope Artiste Village mill rehabilitation project in Pawtucket, Moran Shipping Agencies in Providence, which rehabilitated an historic downtown building as its headquarters and The Mercantile Block in Providence, which arts collaborative AS220 converted in 2010.
Sandywoods Farm in Tiverton and Stillwater Mill in Burrillville were also honored.
The Aquidneck Island Transportation Study, the town of North Kingstwon/QDC Development Agreement, the Pawtucket Downtown Design Plan, and the Warwick Station Development District Plan also were recognized with awards.