Rocky Point Offer Made to Bankruptcy Court

Jun 10, 2002
(Warwick, R.I.)–At the gates of Rocky Point today, Congressman Jim Langevin announced that a group led by The Trust for Public Land has submitted a proposal to the Trustee of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court and the Small Business Administration (SBA) in an effort to purchase the land that was once home to the Rocky Point Amusement Park.  

The proposal includes widespread preservation and unrestricted access to the entire shoreline.

Last June, Langevin joined local Warwick officials and community activists in calling for a plan that would preserve open space and public access to the waterfront property.

“I am pleased that a proposal has been put forward that would preserve a significant portion of this pristine area,” said Congressman Langevin.  “Many feared that purchase of the parcel would lead to widespread development and loss of valuable open space.  Fortunately, the proposal that has been made to the Small Business Administration and the Bankruptcy Court combines manageable development with a commitment to preserving the environmental integrity of the property, a balance I hope any and all offers will reflect.”

 “I would like to thank Congressman Langevin and his staff for working cooperatively with my administration to find solutions for the Rocky Point property,” Mayor Scott Avedisian said. “The concepts set forth in this proposal address our environmental and economic concerns, while recognizing the needs of area residents and ensuring our collective goal that future generations will be able to enjoy unrestricted access to Rocky Point’s wonderful shoreline and the beauty of this pristine coastline.”

Following a June 2001 press conference, in an effort to gain a better understanding of what new uses the former amusement park could serve, Langevin and his staff met with several environmental groups, neighborhood organizations, and city and state officials. Five basic guidelines for the property have been developed as a result of these ongoing meetings and continuing dialogue, which Langevin shared with 70 potential buyers in an effort to raise awareness of this unique opportunity: 

 1. Unrestricted public access to the shoreline
 2. Unrestricted public passive recreation facility
 3. Preserve or improve the current natural buffer to the surrounding community
 4. Negotiate in good faith with the Rocky Beach Association, which has an interest in purchasing the land they currently lease
 5. Negotiate in good faith with the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority, which may       
be interested in purchasing, leasing, or improving the pier

 In an effort to obtain federal or state funding to purchase the property, Langevin appealed to Interior Secretary Gale Norton and the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management.  Legislatively, Langevin, along with 196 other Members of Congress, has co-sponsored H.R. 701, the Conservation and Reinvestment Act (CARA), which would provide Rhode Island with an additional $255 million over the next fifteen years to purchase parcels of open space for preservation purposes, and to support historic and wildlife preservation, coastal conservation and endangered species protection

In addition to his support of CARA, Langevin, with the help of the entire R.I. congressional delegation, was able to obtain $348,700 in federal funds from the NOAA Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program, and he is advocating for additional federal funds this year.  These funds, along with approximately $1 million the city will recoup from the bankruptcy case, will be used to buy some of the land from, or make improvements in cooperation with, the future owner of the property.

 “A unique opportunity has presented itself to the people of Warwick and the State of Rhode Island - an opportunity to control growth and create consistent tax revenue for the city,” added Congressman Langevin.  “It is my hope that any proposal eventually accepted by the SBA and Bankruptcy Court will be one that takes the interests of all stakeholders into consideration.”

 Any offer accepted by the SBA will trigger the Bankruptcy Court’s next step, which is an auction of the property.  At this auction all parties interested in the property will be afforded the opportunity to bid on the property.