Governor McKee and Rhode Island Commerce Announce $4 Million in Awards for Commercial District Improvements




PROVIDENCE, RI — Today, Governor Dan McKee and Secretary of Commerce Liz Tanner announced the recipients of new grant funding under the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation’s Main Street RI Streetscape Improvement Fund and Site Readiness Program.


“As a former mayor, I know how important Main Streets are to the economic success of our municipalities and small businesses,” said Governor Dan McKee. “With these awards, we are putting Rhode Islanders to work on projects that will ensure that local business districts continue to thrive for many years to come.” 


The Main Street RI Streetscape Improvement Fund awards grants on a competitive basis to municipalities and/or economic development agencies for improvements to commercial districts, such as enhanced sidewalks, new way-finding signage, upgraded building facades, and improved street lighting. 


The Site Readiness Program partners with municipalities and/or developers to fund municipal technical assistance and site-specific planning and improvements.


“These programs help make the infrastructure investments Rhode Island’s commercial districts need to grow and stay competitive.” said Secretary of Commerce Liz Tanner. “We know that when we attract new visitors and spending to our local communities and business districts, we foster sustained, long-term economic growth for small businesses across the state.” 


“Programs like this make our communities more welcoming, attractive and safe for all those who live, work and visit Providence. The funding from this program will help to ensure the unique local businesses across our city continue to have a vibrant and safe environment where they can thrive,” said Mayor Brett P. Smiley. “This is exactly the right way we should be spending tax dollars and I’m thankful to our partners at the state for their commitment to invest in the wellness of our neighbors and local businesses.”


Earlier this year, both programs were expanded to allow funds to be used for technical assistance to support future physical improvements and streetscape projects. This includes support in areas such as project planning, engineering, design, and environmental assessments. 




City of Cranston ($250,000)

Arlington Streetscape

·     To improve the ADA accessibility and introduce streetscape features such as vegetation, benches, trash receptacle, and other amenities to a portion of Cranston St. The project would also highlight the historic Sprague Mansion to welcome additional visitors to the area. 


City of East Providence ($250,000)

Watchemoket/ Warren Ave Commercial Corridor Improvements 

·     To complete the installation of new crosswalks, street tree plantings, and sidewalk improvements to meet ADA requirements and accommodate new tree installations. 


City of Pawtucket ($150,000) 

New & Improved Main Street Plaza 

·     To support municipal technical assistance and the design / implementation of a landscaped mini park within the core block of Main Street, as part of a larger effort to revitalize the city plaza. 


City of Providence ($1,250,000) 

Projects 1 - 3 

·     Project 1: To create common branding and signage for both the Downtown Providence Parks Network and nearby Commercial Corridors. 

·     Project 2: To upgrade the existing street lighting on Atwells to improve safety, enhance aesthetics, and reduce future maintenance costs. 

·     Project 3: To implement pedestrian safety and traffic calming strategies through the extension of the sidewalk and curb lines to reduce the street width along Wayland Square. 


City of Woonsocket ($150,000) 

Theatre District 

·     To enhance the City’s newly created tourism district called, “The Theatre District” by creating a more walkable district. Project details include funding to develop a lighting plan, façade improvements and marketing for this district. 


Grow Smart RI ($26,000)  

Main Street RI - Phase 1 

·     To fund cohort support, data collection, and analysis for the development of a statewide Main Street network. 


Providence Downtown Improvement District ($119,867) 

Downtown Providence Park Network Wayfinding Improvement 

·     To improve visual cohesiveness and wayfinding within the downtown parks and to provide prototyping 

opportunities to set the stage for larger wayfinding and streetscape improvements in the future. 


Town of Bristol ($250,000) 

Gooding Avenue Streetscape Improvement 

·     To support major improvements such as adding street trees, landscaping, improving walkability to meet ADA requirements for sidewalks and improving bus shelters on Hope Street and Gooding Avenue. 


Town of Cumberland ($200,000) 

Mill Street Streetscape Enhancement 

·     To support enhancements on Mill Street that focus on connecting the park with the Amaral Building., and other site furniture, including trash and recycling receptacles, bicycle racks, landscape walls, and more will be used. 


Town of East Greenwich ($343,000) 

Main Street Beautification 

·     To support improvements to Main Street such as functionality, safety, and aesthetics, with the goal of creating a more pedestrian friendly area so that the businesses in the area are accessible. 


Town of Johnston ($250,000) 

Johnston Town Center 

·     To support improving pedestrian safety, drainage, and the overall aesthetic appeal of the Atwood Ave and Hartford Ave corridors. 


Town of Lincoln        ($100,000) 

Expansion of the Front Street Corridor Beautification & Enhancement Initiative 

·     To extend a previously awarded sidewalk improvement effort an additional 650 feet from Cabot Street to the intersection with River Road. Combined, the project will address safety, accessibility, and visual appeal along 2,150 linear feet of sidewalk. 


Town of Middletown ($50,000) 

Atlantic Beach District Streetscapes Design 

·     To support widening sidewalks, resetting curbs, providing new decorative lighting, street trees, benches, and other amenities along Aquidneck Avenue in the beach business district. 


Town of Smithfield ($285,000) 

Cedar Swamp Road Sidewalk Extension Project 

·     To support the construction of a 5-foot concrete sidewalk spanning approximately 1,600 linear feet along the easterly side of Cedar Swamp Road and Route 5. 


Town of South Kingstown ($350,000) 

Wakefield Village Improvement Project 2024 

·     To support a long-term vision for the revitalization of the town, which includes the prioritization of mixed-use development projects, and identifying the town’s assets to build upon them. 


West Broadway Neighborhood Association ($50,000) 

West Broadway Commercial District Planning 

·     To help identify and brand a portion of the area represented by the West Broadway Neighborhood Association (WBNA)—extending from I-95 to Route 6/10 and bordered by Broadway, Cranston Street, and Union Avenue—as a commercial district within the City of Providence. 




Town of Barrington ($30,000) 

Town of Barrington Comprehensive Signage Ordinance 

·     To support municipal assistance incorporating a comprehensive signage component and ordinance review into Town's 2025 Comprehensive Plan, including an analysis of existing regulations and an updated scope of work and regulations on following ordinances. 


Town of Middletown ($125,000) 

West Main Rd & Coddington Highway 

·     To assist the Town of Middletown, in partnership with its development partner, with the initial regulatory permitting work, engineering, and traffic analysis required for the redevelopment of 15+ acres of Town-owned land fronting on West Main Road and Coddington Highway. 


Town of North Smithfield ($150,000) 

Route 146 Infrastructure & Economic Dev Project 

·     To assist with obtaining a required site study for initial carrier pipes on the Route 146/146A corridor from the border of Lincoln, through North Smithfield to Woonsocket. 


Town of Warren ($155,000) 

Metacom Avenue Infrastructure Assessment & Planning Project 

·     To carry out necessary assessment and planning functions to upgrade the supporting infrastructure in the Metacom Avenue corridor, specifically sanitary sewer/wastewater, water supply, electrical, natural gas and stormwater. 


50 Sims, LLC ($125,000) 

50 Sims Project 

·     To assist with the completion of 50 Sims Avenue renovation by constructing a new roof, obtaining stormwater management plans, and addressing environmental remediation points.


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