Smiley unveils $132M capital plan for city

PROVIDENCE – Mayor Brett P. Smiley on Tuesday released his fiscal 2024 capital improvement plan, an annual document outlining investments to city infrastructure.

The $132 million proposal was sent to the city’s Finance Committee Tuesday night for consideration.

The plan outlines over $61 million for road maintenance, street repair and street resurfacing over five years.

In total, $47.6 million is proposed for public safety structures, recreation centers and other publicly owned buildings, including $14 million for City Hall, $25 million for a new public works complex and $14.9 million for public parks.

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The mayor’s proposal invests $51.2 million in public works upgrades over the next two years, including $26 million in sidewalk repairs and improving accessibility; and $35 million annually for sewers and stormwater management.

“These investments help set Providence on the path to becoming the world-class city it has the potential to be,” said Smiley. “I am incredibly proud to be putting forth a comprehensive plan for the city’s infrastructure aligned with our goals to improve city services and make Providence more climate resilient.”

A community survey recently conducted by the administration found 71% of residents were “unsatisfied” or “very unsatisfied” with the condition of city sidewalks (69% of business owners agreed). More than 70% were unhappy with the condition of the roads.

Many of the elements of the plan are first identified through budget requests collected by city departments the prior year and then “prioritized based upon need and impact,” according to the city. These capital projects are then vetted by the city’s finance department, which looks at debt service and budget forecasts to determine appropriate borrowing.

This proposal was scaled down from Smiley’s initial $150 million capital plan released in April. The administration in a Tuesday briefing said this was due to a reassessment of the city’s bonding capacity.

There are several projects that would benefit from a federal match and further supplemented by projects included in the fiscal year 2023 budget, according to the administration.

The final project list requires approval from the Finance Committee and City Council.

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

 

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