The vision for a healthy, connected Rhode Island is within reach.
Healthy communities are places where people are working, connected, and supported; they are places people want to live: attractive cities and vibrant neighborhoods that offer modern, desirable amenities and good-paying jobs. Places where the natural and built environments work together to strengthen resilience against climate impacts – and where healthy local foods, convenient travel options, and greenspace are mainstays. This is the place that Rhode Island is becoming.
…Expanding our green economy promotes a stronger Rhode Island.
Already our local food system supports 60,000 jobs and includes more than 1,200 farms spread across 70,000 acres. Increasingly, local food and agriculture are hotbeds for innovation and entrepreneurship – spurred on by a growing awareness of the benefits of eating fresh, locally grown food and being connected to a local farmer or fisherman. The state now boasts a thriving young farmer network and is ranked second nationally in the percent of farms owned by beginning farmers. And the state ranks third nationally in the percentage of farms that sell directly to the public – with more than 50 farmers markets statewide.
…On local food and agriculture, Rhode Island is in the lead.
Our state is also home to more than 60 miles of off-road bike paths that connect communities, schools, greenspaces, and business districts – and serve as vital commuting arteries. Rhode Island’s bikeway network while impressive is not yet complete. To attract businesses and a skilled workforce, investing in a modern transportation system that offers seamless connectivity and healthful recreation is critical. Overwhelmingly young job seekers and entrepreneurs gravitate toward cities that support the active, tech-savvy way of life they value. Nationally, these bike facilities contribute $133 billion to the economy each year and support over one million jobs.
…To compete in today’s global economy, modernizing our infrastructure is key.
Rhode Island continues to invest in revitalizing its communities by cleaning up former industrial sites and preparing them for development. More than 770 blighted properties across the state, spanning 5,500 acres, have been transformed and returned to tax rolls. Just last year, $3.7 million was awarded in matching grants to 14 projects across the state, leveraging $417 million in other public, private investment and creating an estimated 2,700 jobs. Nearly $9 million in applications for funding was received.
…Investing in our green sector accelerates economic growth, creates jobs, promotes health, and makes our communities more attractive.
Cleaning up these properties led the way to new business ventures in Rhode Island but also to expanded academic institutions and improved recreational facilities. More than 400 grants have been awarded and $66 million invested to improve recreation in all 39 Rhode Island communities. And together with many partners, the state has successfully protected more than 147,000 acres of land for the public’s enjoyment and to enhance our state’s tourism invitation.
The Grow Green Bond builds on this success to create a place people want to live: one with attractive cities, sprawling parks, a thriving local food scene, good-paying jobs, and convenient transportation connections.
Rhode Islanders continue to demonstrate strong support for investments in local food, agriculture, active transportation, and preserving our natural resources.
Rhode Islanders love their Bay, beaches, bikeways, parks and fresh, local seafood. These features are core to our economy and way of life – and enjoy pride of place among the issues we support. We all want a thriving economy and environment, and given the chance, Rhode Islanders will continue to build on our strengths and invest in growing green.