Central Falls, Rhode Island is “the smallest city in the smallest state” in the United States, but it is a densely populated city; it’s comprised of nearly 20,000 residents in an area of about one square mile.
Central Falls fell on hard times in the wake of the Great Recession. The city had to file for chapter 9 bankruptcy in 2011, becoming one of only a handful of cities across the country to do so. The former mayor, Charles Moreau, would eventually plead guilty to federal fraud charges.
Central Falls is now out of bankruptcy and just recently elected a new 27-year-old mayor in James Diossa. Diossa is using crowdfunding to try and fund a public works project without having to dip into his limited civic war chest. The campaign aims to take care of a garbage problem in a green space called Jenks Park in an innovative way. From the campaign page…
Jenks Park is the centerpiece public park for the City of Central Falls, RI and one of the few greenspaces available to the public for outdoor recreation. However, the park is often littered with garbage and debris due to the fact that the only available trash cans in the park are low-quality plastic bins that easily tip over, spilling trash everywhere. Additionally, there is currently no option for recycling in the park. These two factors combined cause the city to incur additional costs and require additional time from city staff. More importantly, the scattered garbage and debris is an eyesore and an environmental hazard for the countless children, families and residents who use the park on a daily basis.
The City of Central Falls plans on working with a nonprofit called The Steel Yard that “specializes in the fabrication of place-specific, functional public sculpture.” The new trash cans would be permanent, artistic and offer recycling for the first time in the park.
The Steel Yard will work with the community to design and build the installations.
The campaign is currently crowdfunding on Citizinvestor and has 36 days left to raise a little under half of a $10,044 goal at the time of writing.
Contributions to the campaign are tax-deductible as charitable donations. Diossa is calling it Rhode Island’s first municipal crowdfunding project. This could spell a trend for future municipal projects.
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