Governor Lincoln D. Chafee today signed into law H 5994 and S 0114: "An Act Relating to Public Property and Works," authorizing the sale of surplus property in the I-195 area and establishing the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission.
One of Governor Chafee's top economic development priorities since taking office has been the development of the valuable land opened up by the relocation of I-195 in downtown Providence. The Governor has led Rhode Island delegations on two fact-finding trips to cities that have successfully developed urban areas centered around educational institutions and the medical, research and life-sciences industries.
The legislation signed by Governor Chafee today creates the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission and establishes a 7-member commission to help guide and oversee the thoughtful and planned development of the area. This legislation is the product of months of collaboration between the Governor, the General Assembly and the City of Providence.
"The bills that I have signed into law today bring Rhode Island one step closer to realizing the incredible economic development potential of the Knowledge District and bringing more high-paying jobs to our capital city and our state," Governor Chafee said. "Since taking office, I have led delegations of Rhode Island leaders on fact-finding trips to Houston and Baltimore to see first-hand how those cities have created jobs and achieved tremendous economic growth by focusing on university-driven research and the medical and life-sciences industries."
"There is no question that collaboration -- city-state; business-labor; university-hospital -- is key to the success of the Knowledge District," Governor Chafee continued. "This legislation is the result of positive cooperation between myself, the General Assembly and Mayor Taveras. Now, with the formation of the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission, skilled, enthusiastic, civic-minded Rhode Islanders who care deeply about the future of our city and state will be able to help guide -- with strong public input and participation -- the development of the Knowledge District."
"This area is vital to the economic future of our state, and all Rhode Islanders have a stake in its success," Governor Chafee concluded. "I look forward to continuing to work with the General Assembly, the City of Providence and all interested parties to ensure that we select talented, energetic and public-spirited individuals to serve on this important commission."
"This establishment of this commission will enable us to take a major step forward in the development of a knowledge economy district that has the potential to create a brighter future for our state and our capital city," House Speaker Gordon D. Fox said. "I was proud to join with Governor Chafee, Mayor Taveras and the Senate in working through these very complex issues that will pave the way for exciting new job opportunities."
"I was proud to work with Majority Leader Dominick J. Ruggerio, Providence Caucus Chairwoman Maryellen Goodwin and the entire Providence delegation in the Senate to put forward legislation that promotes economic development in our state," Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed said. "The success of our state is directly linked to the success of the capital city. We are fortunate to have such a strong and dedicated team of senators and representatives advocating on its behalf."
"Development of the I-195 corridor provides Rhode Island with an opportunity to grow investment in our capital city, create good paying jobs and invigorate new industries," said Senate Majority Leader Dominick J. Ruggerio, who sponsored the legislation in the Senate. "The Senate worked diligently with the House, the Governor's office and Mayor Taveras to add new provisions to the original legislation, which included a number of additional benefits for the city of Providence. The strength of the legislative process is in working together to ensure the best laws for our state. I commend Governor Chafee for signing this legislation into law."
"Providence is my home and I am thrilled to play witness to its next chapter," said Representative John M. Carnevale, who sponsored the legislation in the House. "The moving of I-195 provides our capital city with a host of opportunities and its carefully executed development is critical. We joined hands with the Senate, the mayor and the governor to provide enhancements that further integrate the city into the process and eliminate any concerns that gaming will take over our waterfront. I look forward to its implementation."
A formal public signing ceremony, featuring the Governor, legislative leaders, and the Mayor, will be held at a later date.