From the outside, it seems Rhode Island officials have been working on a new comprehensive plan for land use and economic development for ages, or at least since they finished the last plan.
In reality, R.I. Department of Administration Associate Director Kevin Flynn has been working on the plan, known as RhodeMap RI, since 2012, after winning a federal Housing and Urban Development grant to fund it. Since then, the project has merged with the new quadrennial economic-development strategy reset required by post-38 Studios Commerce Corporation reforms.
Although there are a few economic plans sitting on shelves in state offices, Flynn says the scope of RhodeMap RI makes it different.
PBN: Are you nearing the finish line on RhodeMap?
FLYNN: It is a three-year process and before that started we applied for the grant money. The finish line for the whole project is February 2015, so we are in the homestretch. We have a couple of different deadlines. The program is not just the economic-development plan. The rest involves a new housing plan and establishment of a stronger growth-center strategy for the state.
Those three pieces are the major deliverables by end of this process. We have slightly accelerated on economic development because we have a statutory mandate to produce a plan for the General Assembly and incoming administration by the end of October. The piece that Commerce has worked on with the Rhode Island Foundation has really been to get the involvement of the business community in the drafting of the plan. We have had a different focus, more on housing and growth centers.
PBN: What are some of those common themes between the community piece and business piece?