LATEST NEWS ABOUT ROCKY
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.
Warwick Neck Run to benefit Rocky Point’s neighborhood!
November 3, 2010: thanks, voters! Yesterday’s vote--64% approved issuing state bonds to purchase the remainder of Rocky Point and to assure public access at two other key spots on Narragansett Bay--clears the way to move forward toward the ultimate goal of a public park at Rocky Point.
October 20, 2010:
The Rocky Point Rally October 15 at Rhodes on the Pawtuxet, Cranston, was a rousing success. Some 600 enjoyed video scenes of the property and reminiscences of the amusement park’s heyday, browsed memorabilia, heard DEM director Michael Sullivan’s vision of the future and members of the Rocky Point Foundation, the Head of the Bay Gateway Committee (Shooters), and the Fort Adams Trust explain the importance of question #4 on the November 2 ballot for future public access to the Narragansett Bay shoreline. Arlene Violet, former Attorney General and WPRO talk show host, orchestrated the program. The audience enthusiastically responded, waving “SaveOurShore Vote Yes on #4” lawn signs (which they later took home for their lawns). Clam cakes and chowder, popcorn and Rocky Point ice cream, generously donated by the Warwick Ice Cream company, were enjoyed by all.
New Board member and Treasurer: Jane Austin, a senior policy analyst with Save The Bay, has joined the Foundation’s board, and Clifford J. Deck, CPA, CFP, PFS has come aboard as Treasurer (details here).
June 3, 2010:
Rocky Point bond will be put to voters in November. The House today voted to put on next November’s ballot a referendum question for a $14.7 million open space and recreation. Approval by the voters “will authorize the State of Rhode Island to issue general obligation bonds, refunding bonds and temporary notes in an amount not to exceed ten million dollars ($10,000,000) for the purpose of acquiring title to all or a portion of land in and around the former Rocky Point Park for the purpose of establishing the same as a public park,” also funds for acquiring the former Shooters property in Providence and making improvements at Fort Adams in Newport.
Another chance to revisit Rocky Point and show support for creating a public park there: On Sunday, June 6, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian has arranged to open the gate on Rocky Point Avenue so the public can drive or walk through the city-owned land along the shoreline. Rain or shine. Four hours should improve traffic flow and allow everyone a chance to enjoy the view and show their support. Foundation officers and volunteers will be on hand for discussions, to sign up more Friends, and to accept donations--$25 for a Rocky Point T-shirt. You can also pick up a bumper sticker. The Warwick Neck Improvement Association will offer its Warwick Neck book that includes nearly 50 pages on Rocky Point, including many rare photos.
May 10, 2010: Here is the latest Rocky Point news.
To buy all of Rocky Point, we need a bond issue on the ballot and approved by voters
One of the urgent tasks ahead is to get a bond issue, including money for the purchase of the remaining Rocky Point property, on the ballot in next November's election. To that end we have met with House Speaker Gordon Fox and other key members of that House, and Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed and other key senators, as well as Governor Carcieri's chief of staff and Michael Sullivan, director of DEM. Resolutions have been introduced in both the Senate and House for a Rocky Point bond issue. Of course once a bond referendum is on the ballot, the support of Rhode Island voters will be required to make this important piece of our goal of a public Rocky Point a reality.
Many other organizations are also interested in a bond issue. We have been closely consulting The Nature Conservancy, Save the Bay, the RI Land Trust Council and others, as well as with the responsible staff at DEM. We stay in close touch with the mayor of Warwick, Scott Avedisian, a strong supporter of a public Rocky Point, and his staff.
How much will it cost? The park's bankruptcy complicates things--creditors must be satisfied and developers could still try to step in
Acquiring for public use the remaining property at Rocky Point is complicated by the fact that it is currently in the hands of the US Small Business Administration as receiver for the bankruptcy court. The cost of the acquisition is therefore uncertain, as the receiver is obligated to obtain the highest amount for creditors. And developers who have had their eyes on the property for residential development could at any time return to bid up the price. We have met with Mark Hayward, district director of the SBA, in order to understand the issues affecting the cost of acquisition and therefore the size of our task.
Another chance to visit Rocky Point coming up. And the shoreline may be opened permanently for walkers
Warwick Mayor Avedisian is planning to open the city-owned shoreline again for a two hour period in June, allowing visitors to drive or walk through; details in the next edition of Rocky Point News. And he has endorsed a city council resolution, introduced by Councilman John DelGiudice, to provide permanent access to the city-owned shoreline, possibly by creating a walking trail from a spot near the old access gate. City officials are working on plans and discussing with the SBA how to assure that visitors do not venture into the SBA controlled area, which poses many hazards.
Friends are signing on--5000 so far
Our campaign to demonstrate the wide interest in a public Rocky Point is off to a good start. More than 5000 have signed on as Friends of Rocky Point via our website, at the flower show and salt water fishing show at the Providence Convention Center, at the Warwick Public Library, at commercial establishments such as Nick and Joan's café in Warwick (more than 900 so far!), and Town and Country Lanes in Johnston and through individual efforts to sign up friends and neighbors. Filmmaker David Bettencourt, creator of the movie You Must Be This Tall, is preparing a public service announcement to be aired on TV this summer.
You can help: forward this update to friends and family who might be interested in the fate of Rocky Point, and encourage them to visit our website and sign up as Friends of Rocky Point. Or encourage your favorite business establishment to sign up new Friends (like Nick and Joan's, with spectacular success--above), an email to us will get them started.
Our fundraising has kept us solvent as we develop our campaign
We have received donations totaling more than $4,000 ranging from $5 to $250, plus larger in-kind donations, enabling us to buy supplies for our campaign and to save for the larger purposes of purchase and maintenance. We are all volunteers, have no paid staff nor expense accounts, and will hire no consultants unless paid for with foundation grants. We need additional donations, which can easily be made on line or by mail, see our home page.
But to help with the purchase or contribute to getting the property ready for public use we will look for large gifts
We will be launching an effort to encourage large gifts, to be held in escrow for application to the purchase price of the remaining property or returned if a purchase does not happen. If you know someone interested in preserving open space and willing to discuss with us a possible gift to help the public obtain the Rocky Point property, please let us know or encourage them to contact us by email or by mail to The Rocky Point Foundation, c/o Beacon Communications, 1944 Warwick Avenue, Warwick RI 02889. We will be happy to meet and discuss with no obligations.
Our website has other interesting stuff
Finally, if you haven't visited the Scrapbook page lately, take a look, it has many interesting and poignant comments, and you might want to add yours. And the Views of Rocky Point page includes views of the little seen and unexpected rocky ridge, known in the old days as "the caves." We envisage that area would make an interesting and challenging nature trail, adding to the other attractions: scenic views of the bay, two sandy beaches and large open areas for sports.
March 26, 2010:
Thanks to the generosity of the RI Saltwater Anglers we had a complimentary booth at the NE Saltwater Fishing show March 19-21 and signed up more Friends and talked with many folks who would love to be able again to fish from the shore at Rocky Point. We have now signed up over 4000 Friends who support our goal of a public park at Rock Point. And we have over 1500 fans on Facebook. Don’t forget the new play featuring Rocky Point--see below.
March 12, 2010:
David Bettencourt, the filmmaker who created the wonderful movie about Rocky Point, You Must Be This Tall, joined us at the Rocky Point property on March 6, along with his colleague Jason Mayo, to film and photograph the sights for future use in promoting the creation of a public park there. He is a strong supporter of that goal.
Meetings with the Governor’s staff, Speaker of the House Gordon Fox and other legislators, the director and key staff of DEM, the Environmental Council of RI, and other environmental and land preservation organizations helped advance our goals.
Signups of Friends of Rocky Point continued at a rapid pace, nearly 3000 are aboard now, and contributions have reached $4000. We now have more than 1300 fans on Facebook.
New play features Rocky Point. Daydream Theatre Company presents their production Out To Rocky Point, an original play written and directed by Lenny Schwartz on April 15, 16, 17, 22, 23, 24, 29 30, and May 1, 2010. All shows are at 8 pm. Performances are at Bell Street Chapel in Providence.
--Out To Rocky Point is a coming of age story that takes place at Rocky Point Amusement Park on the last day it was open in 1995. The production will use authentic props and signs from the park as well as some surprises.
==Ticket prices: $10 General Admission, $5 Students/ Seniors(with a valid ID). Tickets are available now at www.Smarttix.com. Or visit our website at www.daydreamtheatre.org. Any questions can be directed to Mary DeBerry at 401-644-2293.
Nonprofit status. The IRS has notified us that the Foundation is exempt from section 501(c)(3) of the federal tax code and contributions are deductible effective November 25, 2009.
February 23, 2010:
Flower show: We signed up about 1500 new Friends of Rocky Point at the RI Flower Show, February 18-21. We had a table there thanks to the generosity of the Rhode Island Nursery and Landscape Association and Ken Quaranto. And thanks to volunteers Clyde Bennett, Dawn Almon, Kandee Deck, Carol Mann, Maggie Murphy and Betty Garrison. Together with all Board members, they maintained a presence at our table throughout the show, talking with the many people from RI and all over southern New England who are keenly interested in the fate of this historic and scenic site. (Photos courtesy of Carol Mann)
Our progress: We are just getting started, but thanks to the Flower Show we now have over 1800 signed on as Friends of Rocky Point, many contributing to our fund, over $3000. Over 1200 are fans on our Facebook page.
January 26, 2010 "Get the Point" has gone public. The ProJo, Warwick Beacon (and sister newspapers in Cranston and Johnston), radio and television reported our coming out. Our press conference was held at Rocky Point on a beautiful sunny morning overlooking a sparkling Narragansett Bay and three bay bridges. Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian, Joe Diaz, representing DEM director Michael Sullivan, and Foundation President John Howell spoke of the cooperation among the city, the state, Rocky Point Foundation, Save the Bay, The Nature Conservancy, the RI Land Trust Council, neighborhood associations and Rhode Islanders from all over the state aimed at preserving all this historic and scenic treasure for all to enjoy. Our banner displayed our slogan www.GetThePoint.org, which takes visitors directly to our primary website, www.rockypointfoundation.org.