WASHINGTON - Rhode Island has been awarded a $200,000 “Our Town” grant to help upgrade Kennedy Plaza and make it a livelier center of arts and culture, the state’s congressional delegation announced Tuesday.
The grant, awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts, will be used to support arts programming and a phase II design initiative for Greater Kennedy Plaza.
Transforming the area from a transit hub to a social and cultural destination will help bring more people downtown and provide an economic boost to the city and state,” said the members of the delegation - U.S. Sens. Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and U.S. Reps. James R. Langevin and David N. Cicilline - in a joint statement.
The Kennedy Plaza initiative began in 2008 when a coalition, including representatives from the Downtown Improvement District, The Providence Foundation and the Rhode Island Public Transport Authority, began planning the overhaul and sponsored daily events such as Public Square Thursdays, Farmers’ Market Fridays at Burnside Park, and Rhythm and Soul Sundays with live music performances.
Providence was one of 440 applicants to the funding; 51 Our Town grants totaling $6.5 million nationwide were awarded.
Grants from NEA generate, on average, $6 from non-federal sources for each dollar awarded, the delegation’s news release said.
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