Gano Park boat ramp restores access to Seekonk River for area residents.
Mayor Angel Taveras was today joined by U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Councilman Seth Yurdin, representatives of the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM) and residents of the Fox Point neighborhood to officially open Providence's first public boat ramp. At the event, Mayor Taveras sounded a boat horn to signal canoeists to launch from the floating dock.
"With the opening of Providence's first public boat ramp, more city residents and visitors can enjoy our waterways," said Mayor Taveras. "It is important that urban residents have access to the water for safe and enjoyable opportunities for recreation here in the Ocean State."
The Gano Park boat ramp, located in the Fox Point neighborhood near the intersection of Gano and East Transit Streets, is the first public boat ramp in Providence and the only public canoe and kayak launch site along a 4.2 mile stretch of the Seekonk River. Prior to the construction of the Gano Park boat ramp, Providence's 14.2 miles of saltwater shoreline included only one boat ramp that is privately owned.
"It's important for all Rhode Islanders to have access to our beautiful waterways," said Senator Whitehouse. "This boat ramp will allow more local residents to enjoy our state's coastal resources and appreciate our environment."
The concrete boat ramp provides easy access to the water for boat trailers and a floating dock for residents to tie up canoes and kayaks.
"The neighborhood's access to the water has been restored," said Councilman Yurdin, who represents Ward One, where the boat ramp is located. "This is about more than just being able to spend a day on the water; it's about improving quality of life and making this city a better place."
Fox Point residents, led by neighborhood resident Nora Hurley, first proposed a boat ramp at the site in 2002. In the years following its proposal a number of concerns emerged about the feasibility of the project, including the discovery of contaminated and structurally deficient soil at the site. Through the dedication of neighborhood residents and a collaborative effort between city, state and federal agencies, including the procurement of a DEM Brownfields Remedial Assistance grant, the project was able to move forward.
"Providing folks with easy access to our rivers, bays and other natural areas is one of our the highest priorities at DEM," said Janet Coit, Director of RIDEM. "Launching a boat and exploring our waterways is one of our profound and special local experiences, and we are so excited to be part of opening this new boat ramp in Providence."
"The Gano Park boat ramp is an important addition to the Department of Parks and Recreation," said Robert F. McMahon, Superintendent of Providence Parks. "Allowing public access to the water in Providence marks the completion of a longtime goal shared by the City of Providence, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management and the Fox Point neighborhood."
The $1.3 million project was funded by the City of Providence, RIDEM and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The boat ramp was designed by Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc. and construction was completed by Cardi Corporation under the supervision of the Providence Parks Department.
"This has been a long time coming and I am delighted to now know where the water right of way is," said Fox Point resident Nora Hurley. "It was time to locate it and reopen access to the water."