There have been lots of ideas of how to develop Rocky Point Park since the rides stopped in 1995. And that’s just what they were, “ideas,” unless you had a lot of money.
That is until this year, when the state acquired the remaining 83 acres of the park to complement the 41 acres of shoreline the city bought six years ago.
Big money seemed to be writing the park’s future at first. The initial plan of one of the country’s largest luxury homebuilders was for a development of townhouses and apartment towers with a total of 399 units. When that went nowhere, largely because of the softening housing market and issues with water and sewer services, other developers came forward with scaled down plans.
Money was going to write the park’s future and determine who would get to use it.
Now private ownership and development of the land is no longer a consideration. It belongs to Rhode Island and it is ours to develop, but how?
Should there be a place to buy clamcakes and chowder? Should there be a dock and fishing pier? What about a facility with meeting rooms and a restaurant, walking trails, rock climbing, museum, zip line, playing fields, aquarium, carousel, campground, and concert amphitheater? The list can go on and on.
On Tuesday, May 7 starting at 6 p.m. at Rhodes on the Pawtuxet, Rhode Islanders will have the opportunity to explore the many possibilities in a public forum. The forum is sponsored by the Rocky Point Foundation, a non-profit organization that promoted the 2010 bond issue that provided the $9.65 million for the state to buy the park.
What can people expect on May 7?
The evening will open with a brief presentation featuring pictures from the park during its heyday, what it looks like today as well as what is being done in other parks elsewhere in the country and beyond. Consultants Veri/Waterman of Providence has donated their services to run the forum and prepare a report that will be made public and presented to the state.
There will be some fun things at the forum. Those attending will be given authentic Rocky Point clamcake and chowder tickets – not that there will be takeout – but they’ll serve as raffle tickets for some cool prizes.
The real work of the forum will take place at tables of eight and 10 people. It’s there that people will be asked to dream of the Rocky Point of the future. Those suggestions will then get collected and the entire audience will get to hear them. From there, they will go into a report to the state.
It’s time to start dreaming.
Memories of the park are so rich and so much a part of Rhode Island. Imagine what memories there can be for this and future generations. This is a unique opportunity. Come to Rhodes on the Pawtuxet on May 7 and help write the ticket for the future of Rocky Point.