By Tom Shevlin
NEWPORT – The state is on track to complete needed waterside improvements to Fort Adams well in time for the upcoming America's Cup World Series in June, Janet Coit, the director of the state Department of Environmental Management said Friday.
According to Coit, the improvements, which include upgraded utilities, selective repaving work, and the installation of new floating docks, could be complete by the end of the week.
"Everything to me seems to be on track," she told members of the state's America's Cup planning committee.
State and local officials have said that the improvements should help position the state park to lure in other events – sailing and non-sailing alike.
Meanwhile, preparations for the actual America's Cup World Series regatta are also on track – albeit a slightly different one than originally planned.
In recent weeks, two teams have indicated they won't be making the trip to Newport, dropping the number of competitors to seven with nine boats now slated to make up the fleet.
According to the America's Cup Event Authority, both the Spanish and Australian teams have cited financing troubles as reason for their decision to pull out of the inaugural series, which concludes in Newport July 1.
Expenses were also behind the decision by organizers to do away with plans to erect bleachers along the western edge of fort. Previous plans had sought to install stadium-style seating for the event, however, in attempt to keep ticket prices down, organizers have settled on a more relaxed proposal.
When tickets go on sale, rather than paying up to $40 for admission, spectators will be asked to pay $10 per person, with kids admitted free.
Spectator seating will extend from Eisenhower House to the North Lawn, and blankets and chairs will be permitted.
Further details are expected to be released in the next few weeks as the race shifts from Venice, Italy toward the end of the month.