By Tom Shevlin
NEWPORT – Transient boaters will be able to tie up in the heart of the city’s downtown waterfront this summer thanks to a series of floating docks being installed at Perrotti Park.
The dock system is the latest addition to the city’s harbor infrastructure. According to Harbormaster Tim Mills, the new docks are designed to accommodate both larger recreational vessels as well as tenders and dinghies.
Along the wall, or the outside of the floats, dinghies will be able to tie up, allowing boaters direct access to both the Long Wharf and Thames Street areas. Meanwhile, the inside of the facility will be reserved for use by transient boaters with vessels under 40 feet.
Like the current scheme at the Ann Street Pier, visiting boaters will be charged 50 center a foot per hour to tie up, with no overnight stays allowed.
Harbor shuttles will also be able to make use of the expanded facility. And, according to Mills, public access will be preserved to the new transient facility even during cruise ship season.
City Planner Andrew DeIonno was responsible for overseeing the project.
Earlier this year, the city solicited bids for the project, but only one response was received – and at $562,200, according to DeIonno, it was far above the projected $300,000 price tag.
Working with the state, planning officials were able to secure three $100,000 Tier One Boating Infrastructure Grants, bringing the total amount the city was prepared to spend to $400,000.
With additional funding in hand, the city and Middletown-based Reagan Construction focussed the scope of work so as to achieve a more "workable project" at the $400,000 price point.
The result is expected to address one of the prevailing complaints boaters have long expressed about Newport Harbor: the lack of available public transient dockage.
The project should be wrapped up within the next two weeks.