Money Watchers: RhodeMap RI

Rhode Island's governor is turning to the public for help in making the state a better place to live and work.

A $1.9 million federal grant is being used to fund RhodeMap RI. It's a statewide planning program, complete with public forums, to improve housing and the job climate in Rhode Island.

It's at least the third study requested by Gov. Lincoln Chafee since he took office.

One study in 2012 reported on the government's role in economic development, and another study completed by an out-of-state consultant in 2013 presented research on a long-term economic plan.

But Nate Kelly, a project consultant, defended the use of taxpayer money on another study.

"I think this is going to be a great use of money because there's never been a better time for a state like ours, with the unemployment rate that we have, with the challenges that we face, to develop a vision," Kelly said.

The next public forum will be Tuesday night at Roger Williams University. Forums will be held later this week at the University of Rhode Island and the East Providence Senior Center.