BOSTON, Mass. -- Pawtucket, Rhode Island, recently received the Historic Preservation Award recognizing their outstanding efforts and contributions to Project Impact - Building Disaster Resistant Communities during this year's second annual Project Impact Summit in Washington, DC. Project Impact is a nationwide initiative to help change the way America deals with disasters.
This award was given to the community organization that successfully integrated Historic Preservation as an element of their local mitigation strategy to become disaster resistant. The City of Pawtucket was cited for all of its efforts to protect the Slater Mill Historic Site, a vital centerpiece for the entire Blackstone Valley National Heritage Corridor. Adjacent to the Blackstone River, this Site is particularly vulnerable to flood damages. Recognizing the importance of this Site to the City and the Nation, the City of Pawtucket set aside a portion of its Project Impact funds to finance a project to excavate and make necessary repairs to the mill's raceway, floodgate and the gate's operational mechanism. By making these repairs, the project will mitigate any potential damage that could be caused as a result of flooding to this irreplaceable national historic treasure.
Recipients of the award included Mayor James E. Doyle, City of Pawtucket; Mike Cassidy, Pawtucket Planning and Development Director; and Al Araujo, local Emergency Management Director. They were recognized by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Director James Lee Witt and representatives from hundreds of Project Impact communities at the Project Impact Awards Gala in Washington, DC, on December 15. More than 1,200 citizens, businesses, public officials and emergency managers came from communities across America to participate in this year's Project Impact Summit. They were in Washington to share their communities' progress and the lessons they learned on what works best to prevent deaths and damages from disasters.
"Pawtucket, Rhode Island, and all the recipients of this year's Project Impact awards are leaders in this first generation of Project Impact communities. They are helping to build the infrastructure for disaster prevention in every community in America," said Director Witt. "Pawtucket's outstanding efforts demonstrate that we don't have to be victims of natural disasters. Every one of us can take steps to prevent ourselves, our loved ones, our businesses and our communities from becoming disaster victims."
Project Impact is a nationwide initiative to shift the focus from simply responding to disasters to taking actions in advance to prevent the potentially devastating effects of natural disasters. Project Impact began in 1997 with seven pilot communities and now today has nearly 200 designated communities and over 1,100 business partners. Project Impact has shown that for every dollar spent on prevention, at least two dollars are saved in disaster recovery costs.