§ 42-64-2. Legislative findings.
(a) It is found and declared that there exists in our state a condition of substantial and persistent unemployment and underemployment which causes hardship to many individuals and families, wastes vital human resources, increases the public assistance burdens of the state, impairs the security of family life, contributes to crime and delinquency, prevents many of our youths from continuing their education, impedes the economic and physical development of municipalities and adversely affects the welfare and prosperity of our state; that many existing industrial, manufacturing, recreational and commercial facilities in our state are obsolete and inefficient, and dilapidated; that many of these facilities are under-utilized or in the process of being vacated, creating additional unemployment; that technological advances and the provision of modern and efficient industrial, manufacturing, recreational and commercial facilities in other states will speed the obsolescence and abandonment of existing facilities, causing serious injuries to the economy of our state; that the drastic curtailment of federal military installations in our state presently being undertaken and the announcement by the United States government of plans to relocate large numbers of military personnel and their families presently on duty in this state has and will further result in an additional loss of employment and aggravate the overall unemployment conditions of the state; that new industrial, manufacturing, recreational, and commercial facilities are required to attract and house new industries and thereby reduce the hazards of unemployment; that unaided efforts of private enterprises have not met and cannot meet the needs of providing those facilities due to problems encountered in assembling suitable building sites, lack of adequate public service, unavailability of private capital for development, and the inability of private enterprise alone to plan, finance and coordinate industrial, recreational, and commercial development; that the economic insecurity attendant to chronic and new unemployment and the absence of new employment opportunities constitutes a serious menace for the safety, morals, and general welfare of the people of our state.
(b) It is further found and declared that the decision of the United States government to close certain military facilities located within the state (including those located in the towns of North Kingstown, Portsmouth, Middletown and Charlestown, and the city of Newport) and to dispose of the property comprising those facilities will, because many residents of the state were employed by the United States government at those facilities, aggravate the condition of employment and underemployment mentioned above. The United States government is authorized and intends to make available to the state or to an instrumentality thereof, the property to be disposed of and by virtue of the provisions of Public Laws 1939, chapter 696, certain land in the town of North Kingstown shall revert to the state upon the abandonment by the United States government of the naval base located there. With comprehensive planning and adequate financing, the property can be converted to industrial, manufacturing, recreational, and commercial uses which will promote a healthy and growing economy, thereby encouraging new industries and commercial enterprises to locate in the state, enabling existing industries and commercial enterprises to remain and expand, and alleviating the condition of unemployment and underemployment that now exists.
(c) It is further found and declared that notwithstanding the decision of the United States government to dispose of the property mentioned above, there will continue to be a shortage of property in the state for industrial, manufacturing, recreational, and commercial development. The expansion of the economy, while increasing the need for that property, will continually diminish the supply of that property. Private enterprise has encountered difficulty in providing new industrial, manufacturing, recreational, and commercial facilities in economically strategic areas of the state, because of the problems in assembling tracts of property suitable for those purposes and the cost of providing adequate public services to serve the development.
(d) It is further found and declared that the acquisition and development of property for industrial, manufacturing, recreational, and commercial purposes (including the property to be disposed of by the United States government and that land reverting to the state pursuant to the provisions of Public Laws 1939, chapter 696) and the disposition thereof, must be undertaken on a comprehensive statewide basis so as to assure that new industrial, manufacturing, recreational, and commercial sites are adequately served by appropriate transportation facilities and public services and that those sites are located in any manner as to provide for the orderly economic growth and development of the state, while at the same time conserving the environment. Local planning and development agencies and institutions are insufficient to provide for that comprehensive statewide planning and development.
(e) It is further found and declared that the appropriate development of the property to be disposed of by the United States government and that land reverting to the state pursuant to Public Laws 1939, chapter 696 will require development not only for industrial and commercial purposes but also for transportation, residential, recreational, utility, institutional, civic, and community purposes.
(f) It is further found and declared that there exists in the state blighted or substandard areas, or areas which are becoming blighted and substandard, including obsolete and dilapidated buildings and structures, defective construction, outmoded and obsolete design, lack of proper sanitary facilities, or adequate fire and safety protection, excessive land coverage, insufficient light and ventilation, illegal uses and conversions, inadequate maintenance, buildings abandoned or not utilized in whole or in part, obsolete systems of utilities, poorly or improperly designed street patterns and intersections, inadequate access to areas, inadequate transportation facilities, all of which hamper or impede proper and economic growth of the area as well as the state as a whole.
(g) It is further found and declared to be the public policy of the state to encourage the expansion and development of the state's harbors and ports; to foster and improve the handling of waterborne commerce from and to any port of this state and other states and foreign counties; to seek to effect consolidation of the ports of this state and to promote a spirit of cooperation among these ports in the interest of the state as a whole; to initiate and further plan for the development of the ports of this state and to keep informed as to the present and future requirements and needs of the ports of this state; also to furnish proper and adequate airport facilities within this state and to encourage the integration of these facilities so far as practicable.
(h) In the furtherance of these goals, it is the policy of the state to retain existing industries and to induce, encourage, and attract new industries through the acquisition, construction, reconstruction, and rehabilitation of industrial, manufacturing, recreational, and commercial facilities, as well as transportation, residential, environmental, utility, public service, institutional, and civic and community facilities, and to develop sites for those facilities.
(i) It is declared to be the policy of the state to promote a vigorous and growing economy, to prevent economic stagnation, and to encourage the creation of new job opportunities in order to ameliorate the hazards of unemployment and underemployment, reduce the level of public assistance, increase revenues to the state and its municipalities, and to achieve a stable diversified economy.
(j) The purpose of this chapter is to create the Rhode Island commerce corporation having an existence separate and apart from the state, with the power and authority to acquire and develop property within the state and to provide financing for the purposes set forth above in this chapter.
(P.L. 1974, ch. 100, § 14; P.L. 1976, ch. 277, § 12; P.L. 1986, ch. 198, § 38; P.L. 2013, ch. 243, § 3; P.L. 2013, ch. 490, § 3.)