Providence launches litter removal initiative for public spaces

THE CITY OF PROVIDENCE is making grants available of up to $25,000 to local organizations to clean public spaces in high volume commercial corridors./PBN FILE PHOTO

PROVIDENCE – In an effort to reduce litter, the city is making grants of up to $25,000 available to local organizations to help clean public spaces in high-volume commercial corridors. 

Officials posted the Request for Proposals on Tuesday through the Department of Public Works. The program is funded with $150,000 from the city’s General Fund which will be awarded on a competitive basis. 

Eligible applicants include nonprofits or independent contractors proposing projects to perform cleaning and litter pickup in “common area” public spaces. Grantees will be required to submit a formal report at the conclusion of the grant period “documenting expenses and outcomes associated with the grants,” according to the request. 

Private properties are ineligible for funds. Organizations can utilize their employees or solicit volunteers for programs that “should target areas of the city that are disproportionately affected by litter and illegal dumping.” 

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The RFP will close on Nov. 20 and applicants can submit questions about the bidding process no later than Nov. 3. Awards will be released within 60 days. 

Mayor Brett P. Smiley has made trash and litter removal along with the improvement of city services central points of his administration. His fiscal 2024 budget increased funding for litter and graffiti removal, sidewalk improvements and investments in public spaces. 

The state’s Central Landfill in Johnston is projected to reach capacity by 2040, according to the R.I. Resource Recovery Corp. A 2020 Gallup study requested by the advocacy group “Keep America Beautiful” found that no representative sample group interviewed was completely free of littering habits. 

In August Smiley’s office released the results of a “Community Satisfaction Survey” showing that 71% of residents and 69% of business owners polled were unsatisfied or very unsatisfied with the condition of roads and sidewalks; and 48% were dissatisfied with the city’s overall appearance. 

Christopher Allen is a PBN staff writer. You may contact him at Allen@PBN.com 

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