Historic Providence Seeks Capital Answers to Modernize Storm Water and Sewer Systems

The City of Providence, PI, a finalist in the third round of the City Accelerator, is focused on finding viable and sustainable ways of funding public infrastructure.
by The City of Providence | February 16, 2016 AT 10:00 AM
(116 ratings)

The City of Providence, RI is a finalist in the third round of the City Accelerator, which is focused on finding viable and sustainable ways of funding public infrastructure. Your feedback on its story map will inform final selection of the cities.

You have the option to view the Story Map full screen here but be sure to return to this page to give it a star rating and leave comments below!

What is Providence proposing?

The city of Providence is focused on developing a financing plan for the implementation and ongoing maintenance costs of a regional stormwater utility. As an older industrial city, Providence and its neighboring jurisdictions have major combined sewage overflow challenges. As the city’s new administration embarks on creating its first comprehensive capital plan, they are looking to the City Accelerator to expose them to different funding opportunities and innovative ways to structure debt, public-private partnerships, and federal funding streams to ensure they can address the region’s growing wastewater needs over the long-term without solely relying upon city residents for whom increased rates will be a burden. If selected, the lessons learned from their participation in this cohort would set the stage for infrastructure planning and budgeting for all future projects identified in the city’s capital plan.


A detailed description of the mission and purpose of the City Accelerator’s cohort on funding public infrastructure.

Public response is one of several criteria being used by the City Accelerator to select cohort cities. The number of ratings or comments by themselves do not determine final status or selection

4.6 out of 5 stars (124)

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The City Accelerator wants your feedback. Ask a question or share your thoughts on the problem and the proposed approach - and we welcome your comment on what a solution would mean for city residents

Be part of the campaign for civic innovation at the City Accelerator, presented by Citi Foundation.

Patrick Potter

On: 12-07-2016

Great description of facing a huge challenge, and taking an imaginative but incremental approach to a long-term solution.


On: 03-02-2016

It sounds like a great plan. It is encouraging to note that we are strategic planning to keep our water infrastructure healthy. Thumbs up!


On: 02-23-2016

Great thoughts! Love the multi-pronged proposal.

Landon Sanders

On: 02-22-2016


Victoria Rogers

On: 02-22-2016

Public infrastructure projects like this are essential to the long-term vitality of cities, but they're not the stuff that get residents or elected officials excited. It's like taking care of your house: you may want a shiny new kitchen, but what you need is a new roof. Responsible adults make the right choice, even if it means living with the ugly linoleum a few more years. I applaud the City of Providence for turning its attention to our storm water drainage problem---not sexy, but really important. The City get additional praise for looking at innovative ways to fund this project, such as entering the City Accelerator competition. I hope we win; we need help figuring this one out!

Melanie Brown

On: 02-22-2016

Growing up in Providence and walking by the Providence and Woonasquatucket Rivers it was always clear that something needed to be done to improve water quality, and it was so sad to see such mighty rivers flowing through the heart of the city and through Olneyville being so discarded and in such disrepair. Although I am no longer a Rhode Island resident, I am thrilled that Providence has it's focus on water infrastructure and is taking on the challenge. It seems like a wise step in creating a more sustainable, safer and equitable future for Rhode Island. Good luck Providence!


On: 02-21-2016

I appreciate this vision – good luck to all us in getting momentum to make it happen!

Timothy Donahue

On: 02-20-2016

Providence is also known as the city of seven hills. It is refreshing to see a plan that focuses not only on the bottom of the hills downtown, but the bottom of the hills in Olneyville as well. Good public planning is mindful of marginalized populations, and this is a good plan. Olneyville feels like it is on the precipice of successful significant transformation, as someone who has lived most of his life in and around Olneyville, the energy and attention is uplifting.

Jackie Lightfield

On: 02-19-2016

Great use of data to analyze and problem solve. Good luck PVD!

Lilian Romero

On: 02-19-2016

RI did a great job at describing their history while at the same time indicating their needs

Jim Salem

On: 02-19-2016

Great map and analysis

Rob Goldman

On: 02-18-2016

Looking for new ways to finance water pollution control solutions? Here's a method the City should try: MAKE BROWN UNIVERSITY PAY PROPERTY TAXES AT FULLY ASSESSED VALUES. That'll cover the costs. Oh, what's that you say? "Brown is sacrosanct. Can't touch them. Let's slap another fee on Providence home owners." Sigh. That's where this slick effort is going. I can see that a mile away.

Ellen Cynar

On: 02-18-2016

A great and much needed opportunity for Providence!


On: 02-18-2016

Would like to see information about novel approaches to this management as opposed to throwing funding at the existing insufficient solution.

Steven L Hughes, AIA, LEED AP

On: 02-18-2016

Providence is looking to incorporate green infrastructure to help improve or replace aging gray infrastructure and build more resilience into the way stormater is handled well into the future. Very forward thinking plan that should be supported!

Allen Hance

On: 02-18-2016

Very informative! I appreciate the creative presentation of data and complicated issue.


On: 02-18-2016

It's wonderful to see a city preparing realistically for the future with innovation and collaboration as guiding stars.

don gralnek

On: 02-18-2016

good presentation

Peter Haas

On: 02-18-2016

Huge issue in a city prone to flooding.

Jay Metzger

On: 02-18-2016

Very well said!

Josh ONeill

On: 02-18-2016

Providence has major stormwater runoff issues and difficult aging infrastructure concerns. This is a great opportunity for the City to continue to address this issue and improve tourism and economic development in the Capital City.


On: 02-17-2016

PVD has serious flooding issues. Excited to see this proposal.

Leo Martin

On: 02-17-2016

Great graphics!