New Fishing Pier
Rhode Island Saltwater Fishing
New Fishing Pier To Open In 2020 At Rocky Point State Park
Pegee Malcolm Collection
Construction of a new timber fishing pier at Rocky Point State Park is almost complete. When finished, the pier will provide universal access to one of the state’s prime fishing areas, less than 10 miles from the City of Providence. Located along Warwick Neck and overlooking Narragansett Bay, the 124-acre Rocky Point State Park property, once home to the iconic amusement park, is a rich source of cultural identity for residents and visitors alike.
Rocky Point Amusement Park began operation in the late 1840s and was one of the most popular attractions in Rhode Island. Located so close to Rhode Island’s prime metropolitan area, the Rhode Island Central Railroad Company served the site from Providence 7 times per day in 1889, including Sundays! There was also a pier at the site which once served as a means of bringing people to the former amusement park by boat, dinghy, or even yacht. The pier was rebuilt following destruction by the hurricanes of 1938 (unnamed) and 1954 (Hurricane Carol) in order to maintain access to the Rocky Point Amusement Park. Watercraft access via Narragansett Bay remained the popular way to enter the Park until the 1960’s when cars and buses became the common and readily-available transportation method.
Rocky Point Amusement Park closed in 1994 and remained unused for the better part of the following decade until the property was purchased for $8.5 million in 2003. In 2008, the City of Warwick secured title to 41 acres of the property, including the one-mile-shoreline at Rocky Point, through a complicated negotiation involving city, state and federal officials. In 2013, working through a similarly complicated set of partnerships and negotiations, RI DEM was able to acquire the remaining 83 acres. The area was reopened to the public in 2015 as Rocky Point State Park, a true “partnership park” with DEM overseeing the operation and maintenance of the property in coordination with Warwick City departments.
The new T-shaped pier at Rocky Point features a 260-foot-long approach with an approximately 110-foot-long fishing pier at the T. The pier amenities include a shade structure, benches, aluminum railings, and solar lighting. Railing heights vary in order to allow people of all ages and abilities to enjoy fishing access to Narragansett Bay. (Although the facility long ago supported ferries and yachts, there is currently no plan to reinvent that scenario, which would also require additional services such as reservations and security.) The final design for the accessible fishing pier was prepared by Pare Corporation of Lincoln, RI/Foxboro, MA. ACK Marine & General Contracting, LLC of Quincy, MA is performing the construction. Total costs for the project are expected to be just over $2 million.
Construction began in June 2019 with the arrival of two barges to Rocky Point. Much of the pier was built from these barges with cranes, pile drivers, and other machine operations. Remnants of the former pier were first removed and disposed of, and new timber piles were installed in the same approximate footprint. These timber piles provide the main structural support.
By August, the pile bracing was complete and the supports for the pier deck were in place. By November, the railing posts were installed and the pier deck was constructed. The aluminum railings were installed in December 2019 and January 2020. The shade structure, benches, and the pier connection to land will be completed through winter and spring of 2020.
The new fishing pier will complement a variety of recreational opportunities at Rocky Point, including walking, bird-watching, rock climbing and open spaces for sports, picnics and other gatherings. The public draw to Rocky Point remains unwavering. Some Rhode Islanders may remember it for the Shore Dinner Hall or the Skyliner gondola ride. Others may only know that history through stories of the past, and instead think of open space, walking paths, and soon, a pier for fishing access and beautiful views of Narragansett Bay. Either way, Rocky Point continues to be a cherished attraction for all with the iconic arch that stands today, bridging memories of the past with a State Park that is preserved for the future. “Come with your family, come with your friends. That’s the Rocky Point tradition ‘cause it’s (almost) summertime again!”