PROVIDENCE, R.I. (August 28, 2007) – Rhode Island Housing announced plans for a revolutionary statewide development initiative – KeepSpace Communities. This comprehensive and cooperative plan promotes development practices that preserve and enhance as much open space as possible while revitalizing existing areas that are underutilized or poorly developed. At the same time, KeepSpace provides effective solutions to the state’s growing housing crisis in ways that support safe, healthy homes, a sound economy, sustainable infrastructure and a better environment. The KeepSpace initiative is designed to balance each of these vital concerns in a complementary and cooperative way.
In launching KeepSpace, Rhode Island Housing is taking “working together to bring you home” to a new level – creating unprecedented partnerships with Rhode Island residents, economic development experts, environmental agencies, business leaders, and cities and towns to lead this groundbreaking program.
“KeepSpace will preserve our state’s limited resources, provide jobs within the community, and contain attractive, quality homes that workers can afford. By engaging the state’s knowledge base of experts to work together, KeepSpace neighborhoods will be places where neighbors meet, people work and children play,” says Richard Godfrey, Executive Director of Rhode Island Housing. “In putting together a team of partners as varied and broad-based as the needs of our state, KeepSpace is bringing new meaning to community revitalization.”
The founding partner of KeepSpace, Rhode Island Housing has issued a request for proposals (RFP) to developers and is prepared to invest up to $10 million to support the development of the first 3-5 KeepSpace Communities. Rhode Island Housing will leverage its expertise and funding capability with other public, private and non-profit agencies to stimulate unique models of community development, site design and sustainable growth for the future.
KeepSpace Communities feature homes that are safe, inviting and affordable while maintaining the natural beauty of the state’s urban, suburban and rural areas. Jobs, schools, shops and services will be conveniently located within each neighborhood. Families and commerce will prosper in attractive, secure settings that cultivate community and purpose. By developing innovative systems for conserving and renewing resources, and designing homes and buildings that match the workforce needs, KeepSpace Communities will thrive economically, socially and environmentally.
“KeepSpace wisely recognizes two fundamental truths about Rhode Island – that we have tremendous untapped economic and social potential, but also little margin for error in how we grow and develop,” says Scott Wolf, Executive Director for Grow Smart Rhode Island and KeepSpace Advisory Committee Member. “By creating model approaches for using Rhode Island’s land and buildings more efficiently, KeepSpace can be a major catalyst for a more vibrant, prosperous and opportunity rich state.”
“The KeepSpace program demonstrates a strong commitment to Land Use 2025 – Rhode Island’s plan for managing the state’s limited land for the future,” says Kevin Flynn, Associate Director of the Rhode Island Department of Planning and KeepSpace Advisory Committee member. “Through the development of vibrant, mixed-use communities that preserve open spaces, we are protecting the state’s overall character and quality of life.”
The first 3-5 KeepSpace Communities will serve as models that will seed an original body of knowledge of development, and that which meet the established criteria of a KeepSpace Communities design. The deadline for submission is Nov. 15. The expectation is that those chosen will integrate the involvement of government, business, and civic representatives, and result in replicable models of sustainable communities that benefit all Rhode Islanders now, and in the future.
Rhode Islanders are encouraged to become a part of this vital initiative. Visit www.keepspace.org to learn more and to provide thoughts on what KeepSpace Communities should include.