Governor Lincoln D. Chafee today joined with Providence Mayor Angel Taveras, House Speaker Gordon Fox, Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed, Senate Majority Leader Dominick Ruggerio, Representative John Carnevale, representatives of the business community, and officials from Rhode Island's colleges and universities for a ceremonial signing of H 5994 and S 0114: "An Act Relating to Public Property and Works," or the so-called "I-195 Commission" bill.
Signed by Governor Chafee on July 9, the law authorizes the sale of surplus property in the I-195 area and establishes the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission, a 7-member body appointed to help guide and oversee the thoughtful and planned development of the area. The legislation was the product of months of collaboration between the Governor, the General Assembly and the City of Providence.
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.
"I am very proud of the partnership that led to the passage of the I-195 redevelopment legislation," Governor Chafee said. "This is the result of months of collaboration between myself, the General Assembly, and Mayor Taveras. These state leaders -- in addition to representatives of our hospitals, colleges and universities, and non-profits -- were members of the delegations I invited to join me 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."
"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," Governor Chafee continued. "This area has tremendous potential for our state in terms of job creation and economic growth, and it is essential that we approach its development in a thoughtful, deliberate, and streamlined manner."
"I am proud to sign this law and will continue working with state leaders to bring jobs and economic prosperity to this great state," Governor Chafee concluded.
"The 195 Commission will set the stage for a strong collaboration between the City of Providence and the state of Rhode Island in a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create jobs and stimulate economic development," Mayor Taveras said. "This Commission will preserve the integrity of Providence's planning and zoning system and ensure the city has robust representation in guiding development of the 195 land. I commend Governor Chafee and House and Senate leadership, and look forward to creation of a vibrant Knowledge District."
"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."