By ecoRI News staff
WARWICK, R.I. — Construction of a new timber fishing pier will soon begin at Rocky Point State Park. Financed by Rhode Island capital plan funds and green economy bond funding, the $1.8 million project is expected to be completed by December, according to the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM).
“Expanding shoreline and fishing access is core to our mission at DEM and we’re thrilled that the new pier will enable anglers, regardless of their physical abilities, to experience the joy and bounty of fishing on Narragansett Bay,” DEM director Janet Coit said. “I hope that the public will benefit from this recreational investment and asset for decades to come.”
The new structure will feature a 280-foot-long, T-shaped pier with a shade structure, benches, railings, and solar lighting.
The completed project will provide saltwater fishing access less than 10 miles from downtown Providence, advancing a key element of this coastal public park, according to DEM.
The fishing pier will complement a variety of recreational opportunities at Rocky Point State Park, including walking, bird watching, rock climbing, the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association’s Youth Fishing Camp (scheduled for June 25-27), and DEM’s Come Clam With Me workshops.
Located along Warwick Neck and overlooking Narragansett Bay, the 124-acre Rocky Point State Park property is one of Rhode Island’s most beloved natural assets. Over the decades, attractions at Rocky Point have come and gone — nature trails, a ferry pier, the end of a trolley line running from Providence through Buttonwoods and Oakland Beach, an observation tower, hotels, clambakes, restaurants, swimming pool, rides, games, and concerts — but the attraction of publicly accessible land so close to Providence has been a consistent draw since 1850.
In March 2013, DEM acquired 83 acres at the site of the former Rocky Point amusement park, creating Rhode Island’s newest state park. The state’s parcel was integrated with the 41 acres of shoreline at Rocky Point that was bought by the city of Warwick in 2007 with the help of state and federal funding. The now-dilapidated pier at the site once served as a means of bringing people to the former amusement park by boat.
After a competitive bidding process, ACK Marine & General Contracting LLC of Quincy, Mass., was awarded the construction contract, according to DEM.
The Ocean State’s system of parks and beaches, which, according to a recent DEM study, ranks first in visits per park acre but 47th in state spending per visit. Rhode Island’s natural and public assets attract more than 9 million people a year and add an estimated $315 million to the economy.