Warwick, RI – If the Sky Line towers at the freshly redeveloped Rocky Point Park seem a little smaller than you remember, that’s purely a trick of the memory.
“You were a lot smaller then,” assures DEM Director Janet Coit. She said they haven’t done anything to the towers that once ferried patrons across the famed amusement park’s grounds.
Coit joined Mayor Scott Avedisian, Governor Lincoln Chafee, members of Rhode Island’s Congressional Delegation, key House and Senate members, representatives of the Rocky Point Foundation and Save the Bay, and other public officials Friday morning to celebrate the beginning of the park’s redevelopment in anticipation of an Open House for the park Saturday.
DEM acquired 83 acres at the site of the former amusement park in March 2013. This land will be integrated with the 41 acres of shoreline at Rocky Point that was bought by the City of Warwick with the help of state and federal funding in 2007.
Cleanup of the property began in July with the demolition of the Shore Dinner Hall and the Palladium/Windjammer. About 50 summer cottages on the site were also demolished.
For future redevelopment of the site, the state will seek public-private partnerships, explore federal funding opportunities for parkland development, and continue to partner with the City of Warwick.
Among those credited with helping to acquire the shoreline property was John Howell, editor and publisher of the Warwick Beacon, also president of the Rocky Point Foundation. The Foundation led a push for acquisition of the shoreline property which resulted in the $9.7 million purchase being added to a $14 million bond in 2010.
“The future is full of promise, and, I suspect, clam cakes and chowder will be a part of it,” Howell said.
The ongoing redevelopment of the park also required the work of state and city officials and employees.
“I want to thank the employees of the City of Warwick for all their efforts,” said Avedisian, who gestured behind himself to a wide green field overlooking Narragansett Bay. “I don’t think anyone believed that this is what it would look like,” he said.
Rep. Frank Ferri said most of the people at the ceremony seemed to remember Rocky Point, with the exception of the Warwick Veterans High School Band, which provided music for the opening and closing of the morning’s remarks.
On Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., visitors will get to explore the grounds and see the progress of the redevelopment of Rocky Point into Rhode Island’s newest coastal state park.
Music will be provided by the Night Life Orchestra and refreshments will be available for purchase from food trucks offering seafood, hot dogs, shaved ice, specialty coffee, smoothies, cupcakes, Asian delights and Chinese street food.
Food trucks were organized by foodtrucksin.com and trucks expected to be at the event include Buddha Belly, Elwoods Dog House, Presto Strango Coffee Truck, Jo-Jo’s Cupcakes, The Big Freezy, Rhodies food truck, The Cod Squad, and Fugo food truck.
The event will take place rain or shine.
Ferri said he’s sure the park will be a popular attraction in the coming years.
“Just hearing the words Rocky Point brings a smile as well as emotions of excitement,” he said.