The deal is done! All of Rocky Point now belongs to the public. On March 28, 2013, the sale of the remaining 82 acres of the former amusement park was conveyed to the state of Rhode Island and US SBA district director Mark Hayward turned the keys over to DEM director Janet Coit.
Photo, from left: state senator Michael McCaffery, Warwick city councilman Joseph Solomon, state representative Frank Ferri, US representative Jim Langevin, Warwick mayor Scott Avedisian, DEM director Janet Coit, senator Jack Reed, senator Sheldon Whitehouse, US SBA district director Mark Hayward
The next step will be demolition of some of the remaining buildings and removal of the demolition materials.
Transfer of ownership does not mean immediate public access to the newly acquired property. It will remain dangerous until it is fully cleaned up. Mayor Avedisian noted that the walking path along the shoreline remains open, but will be closed when demolition and removal begins--the walkway will be dangerous and dirty until the work is completed.
Meanwhile it’s time to focus on what use is to be made of this beautiful public property. In order to get input from its owners--the citizens of Rhode Island--the Foundation is organizing, with the support of DEM, one or more public meetings to gather and exchange ideas. The first meeting was held on May 7 at Rhodes on the Pawtuxet, in Cranston. A large crowd attended and many ideas were suggested. We will provide a report on that meeting after the results are digested, and many opinions and suggestions have been posted on our Facebook page and on our Scrapbook page on this website. If another meeting is scheduled it will be announced here and on Facebook.
Why Rocky Point belongs to the people
Rocky Point is part of Rhode Island’s cultural heritage. Since it was first used for nature outings in 1847, it became a summer resort praised by the New York Times in 1872 as “one of the most delightful places upon our New-England coast,” a place “exceedingly popular with the masses as a delightful spot to spend a few days from the hurry and hustle of daily life.” By 1900 amusements had been added so that it had become “the Coney Island of Rhode Island” according to the Times, and John Jacob Astor organized a whimsical visit by his wealthy Newport friends to sample popular entertainments. Read more about the Rocky Point saga over a century and a half as a summer resort, working class destination, venue for presidents and Babe Ruth, and eventually an extremely popular entertainment destination.
Rocky Point is accessible to city folks and all Rhode Islanders. Originally, visitors arrived by steamboat, then by trolley cars, and now it is on a public bus route. Visitors can also come by car or, if the dock is restored, by boat—possibly by ferry.
In short, Rocky Point can again be a destination for family recreation and enjoyment of the beauty of Narragansett bay.
Thank you for your interest in The Rocky Point Foundation. If you have any questions about the Foundation or its mission, or if you have other ideas about Rocky Point or how you might help, please let us know.
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Links. For more information about Rocky Point go to:
The Providence Library’s historical archives on Rocky Point: http://www.provlib.org/resources/books/ricollection/rockypoint.html
Memories, photos and more http://www.joenisil.com/rockypoint/index.htm
“You must be this tall” -- the movie http://www.rockypointmovie.com/index.html
Memories and comments, a blog http://rememberingrockypoint.com