PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank and The Nature Conservancy are proud to announce the opening of the application period for the 2021 Municipal Resilience Program (MRP). Building off the program’s success over the past two years, the Municipal Resilience Program aims to equip municipalities with the tools necessary to assess their vulnerability to climate change, while providing the necessary funding to take on specific community resilience projects. Successful applicants gain access to technical assistance from The Nature Conservancy and the opportunity to apply for action grants through the Infrastructure Bank. The Bank has committed $2 million in grant funding for projects identified in the 2019 and 2020 MRP rounds and additional funding will be available for participating municipalities in 2021.
“The Infrastructure Bank is committed to assisting communities invest in green infrastructure that withstands and adapts to a changing climate” said Jeffrey R. Diehl, CEO of Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank. “We look forward to continuing this important program and strengthening our partnership with communities as they prepare and invest in critical infrastructure.”
Since the program’s inception in 2019, Barrington, Bristol, Little Compton, Newport, Middletown, Pawtucket/Central Falls, Portsmouth, South Kingstown, Warwick, Warren, Westerly and Woonsocket completed Community Resilience Building workshops. During the workshop process, participating municipalities developed a list of priority projects and subsequently applied to the Bank for a share of action grant funding, which require a 25% local match. A range of resilience projects have emerged from the workshops including; stormwater management, coastal restoration, dam repair/removal, tree planting, culvert repair, and flood mitigation. Grant awards for projects identified in the 2021 MRP process will be announced in early 2022.
“Municipalities are taking action to combat rising sea levels and increased storms that will have long-term effects on local infrastructure and residents,” said Shaun O’Rourke, director of stormwater and resiliency at the Infrastructure Bank and the state’s Chief Resiliency Officer. “The Municipal Resilience Program has demonstrated the impact of identifying and accelerating investment in local priority actions through planning and project pipeline building.”
“The MRP workshops are driving community-wide conversations about on-the-ground efforts to address climate change, such as how to make sure our roads, culverts and wastewater systems can handle more frequent and intense storms,” said Sue AnderBois, The Nature Conservancy’s Climate and Energy Program Manager. “Yesterday’s solutions aren’t working anymore. We are looking forward to working with more cities and towns in 2021 to make Rhode Islanders safer and more resilient to climate change.”
All Rhode Island cities and towns can apply for the 2021 Municipal Resilience Program here. Municipalities are encouraged to apply as regional clusters or multi-municipal groups. Regional groups need not share a boundary but should be able to work well together based on their geography as well as other commonalities. MRP workshops are scheduled to start in May 2021 and will likely be conducted online. Applications are due no later than 4 PM on January 29th, 2020. At least 5 municipalities will be selected for the 2021 round of the program.
Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank is Rhode Island’s central hub for financing infrastructure improvements for municipalities, businesses, and homeowners. We leverage capital in a revolving fund to offer innovative financing for an array of infrastructure-based projects including water and wastewater, road and bridge, energy efficiency and renewable energy, and brownfield remediation. These quality of life projects improve the State’s infrastructure, create jobs, promote economic development and enhance the environment. For more information, please visit www.riib.org.