SBA Pays Warwick $1M for Back Taxes on Former Rocky Point Property

Jan 22, 2003
(Warwick, R.I.)–In his office today, Congressman Jim Langevin and a representative from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) presented Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian with a check for past debts owed to the city on the former Rocky Point Amusement Park property.  For almost two years, Langevin has been working with local, state and federal officials to preserve as much of the property as possible for open space.

 The $1,078,277.65 check will cover past taxes and water bills owed to the City of Warwick.

Picture of the SBA check

 “Thanks to this major payment by the Small Business Administration, the former site of Rocky Point Amusement Park is another step closer to serving as a public recreational space once again,” said Congressman Langevin.  “I am hopeful that today’s news will encourage a potential buyer to come forward and make a bid on this pristine parcel with the public’s interest of some degree of conservation and preservation in mind.  Open space such as Rocky Point is a rarity in Rhode Island; we must do all we can to preserve a portion of this parcel.”

 “The City of Warwick is obviously very pleased to receive these funds,” said Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian. “All along this process, we have stressed that the city was willing to look at the back taxes as part of an overall plan to preserve Rocky Point’s shoreline.  We are still willing to consider this and will segregate this money in case opportunities present themselves.”

 “This check is being presented to the City of Warwick from the Small Business Administration as Receiver for Moneta (SBIC),” said Mark Hayward, Rhode Island Small Business Administration District Director.  “The agency has also paid other senior creditors.  The agency has paid $1.1 million to Sedona Associates and $17,000 to East Manning Realty.  These payments are part of a process moving towards the ultimate removal of the property from bankruptcy and or sale.”

 In an effort to obtain federal or state funding to purchase the property, Langevin has appealed to Interior Secretary Gale Norton and the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management. 

Picture of Congressman Langevin with other officials

 Langevin, with the help of the entire Rhode Island congressional delegation, was able to obtain $348,700 in federal funds in FY2002 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 received today from the SBA, will be used to buy some of the land from, or make improvements in cooperation with, the future owner of the property.

 Still, the bankruptcy court awaits offers on the former Rocky Point site.

 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’s office met with several environmental groups, neighborhood organizations, and city and state officials.  As a result of ongoing meetings and continuing dialogue, five basic guidelines for the property have been developed, 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

-30-