General Assembly Passes Redevelopment Legislation
Pawtucket – The City of Pawtucket and the Pawtucket Delegation are proud to announce that the General Assembly has passed legislation (2019-H 6153Aaa / 2019-S 0673aa) that will enable the financing of redevelopment of the Pawtucket’s Growth Center and Arts District. The legislation has been transmitted to Governor Gina Raimondo for her signature.
“The City of Pawtucket thanks the General Assembly for believing in our vision and passing the legislation that will enable financing for redevelopment of Pawtucket’s Growth Center and Arts District. We thank the entire Pawtucket delegation who stepped up and worked hard for the improvement of our great community,” said Mayor Donald R. Grebien. “Our great city is moving on from the loss of the PawSox and we remain determined to make things happen for our residents. This is a major win for the state and Pawtucket as we have taken a step in the right direction.”
The bill allows the Pawtucket Redevelopment Agency, whose mission is to assist in revitalizing Pawtucket’s neighborhood and commercial areas, to issue revenue bonds to assist in the redevelopment of projects in the defined areas. It will allow the City to finance infrastructure and make other public improvements in order to facilitate the redevelopment of Downtown Pawtucket. The legislation will ensure that the private sector assumes all of the risk as opposed to the State, protecting taxpayers.
The areas include the Pawtucket Arts District and the Pawtucket Growth Center. These areas generally coincide with the Downtown and the Riverfront and are also located within Federally designated Opportunity Zones where the State and the City hope to incentivize new investment.
The legislation, which is similar to legislation that was passed last year for the PawSox before they announced that they were leaving Pawtucket, is not site or property specific, but rather an enabling legislation for interested developers.
According to a press release by the General Assembly, Representative Carlos Tobon, who sponsored the bill in the House, said, “This is an incredibly important bill to Pawtucket and its residents. With the loss of the PawSox, it’s more crucial than ever to redevelop assets that are dormant in our city, particularly in the downtown area. This bill will give the economic development tools needed to revitalize our city.”
In the same release, Senator Sandra Cano, who sponsored the bill in the Senate, said, “Despite recent hardships, Pawtucket has a lot of momentum behind it. This legislation will support the city’s mission to redevelop and rejuvenate key districts while allowing the city to invest in much-needed redevelopment projects without raising taxes or fees on residents. I thank the General Assembly for passing this crucial bill.”
The bill will create redevelopment opportunities around the incoming Pawtucket-Central Falls commuter rail station set to be completed in 2021. Combining transit, office space, new construction and converted mill housing, and thriving breweries, restaurants, and cultural spaces, the Conant Thread & Downtown Pawtucket Development District is poised for major investment and mixed-use development.
The House passed the bill 52-to-8 and Senate 28-to-4.