Grant awarded to support Westerly Resilient Riverfront Renewal Project

WESTERLY — A Southeast New England Program Watershed Implementation Grant, awarded to the Southern Rhode Island Conservation District and Fuss & O’Neill, will partially fund the Westerly Resilient Riverfront Renewal Project.

The project will receive additional funding from the Rhode Island Department of Transportation, the Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank, the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program, and the Town of Westerly.

The project has identified potential infrastructure improvements at a municipal level to improve water quality in the lower Pawcatuck River and adjacent coastal waters, alleviate flooding, and promote community connection along the heart of Westerly’s fully developed business district. It will utilize nature-based solutions to address stormwater management; will include streetscape components that will improve safety, functionality, walkability, and resiliency; and will add green space to promote interactions with nature and with members of the community.

Creating a master plan to address all these needs simultaneously was a strategic choice, according to Gina Fuller of the Southern Rhode Island Conservation District.

“Addressing stormwater management, economic development, and public greenspace simultaneously eliminates the inefficiencies and lost opportunities that often arise from piecemeal stormwater work,” Fuller said. “Given that most land along Main Street and the lower Pawcatuck River is privately owned and managed, coordinated planning and design are essential to ensure functional efficacy of stormwater management. In our outreach to landowners to date, we have received tremendous support for this work.”

The project will be managed by the Southern Rhode Island Conservation District in collaboration with the town of Westerly, local nonprofits, and land and business owners. Fuss and O’Neil, a civil and environmental engineering firm, has been contracted for the design and engineering work.

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