RI Dept. of Environmental Management wants more details on Lighthouse Inn property development


“Some of the original proposals may have contained some of these elements, but we hope you can refocus on these specific areas and provide more detail,” Jason McNamee, deputy director of DEM’s Office of Natural Resources, said in a statement. communicated. Friday letter to people who had submitted proposals.

The new deadline for more information is December 27, and Michael Healey, a spokesperson for DEM, told the Globe they expect to have a decision by December 31.

The question of what to do with the site, in addition to serving as a parking lot for the Block Island ferry across Great Island Road, has led to debate in Narragansett.

One of the proposals was put forward by the city, whose leaders have tried to drum up interest in what they called an “ambitious, bold and complex” idea, including a hotel and restaurant, a parking lot for 400 spaces and a mixed-use building. for offices and housing.

“In my tenure, no other issue in the city has garnered this level of public input and support,” said Ewa Dzwierzynski, a city council member who helps lead the city’s efforts, in an email. .

Some townspeople have raised issues with the current developer, PRI X, a joint venture of Cranston-based Procaccianti Companies and Providence-based Paolino Properties. PRI X, which currently manages parking on site, has also submitted a proposal, with a hotel of 20 to 40 rooms and a redevelopment of the hotel’s facade to make way for cafes or ice cream parlours. A flashpoint: the length of the 99-year lease that PRI X says is required to operate the site.

Another proposal from a company called iCell Aqua Inc. would build “a combined seafood processing facility and a centralized water purification, recycling and protein recovery facility.” This would help deal with the fish and also the water by-products that you can’t just dump down the drain or into the ocean. The lack of such infrastructure is holding back the state’s fishing industry, the company said.

The port of Galilee is managed by the Department of Environmental Management for the benefit of the fishing industry. DEM said any proposal should serve and support the state’s commercial fishing industry. The port of Galilee is one of the busiest fishing ports on the east coast.

The owner of the Atlantic Red Crab Co. wrote a letter to the state outlining top priorities for the site, but it did not receive a full proposal and was dropped from the race.

One person involved in the fishing industry said he thought Narragansett’s proposal – often abbreviated as an RFP or in response to a request for proposals – did not take into account their needs.

“This Narragansett town tender was very much like a can of fish left on the dock in the summer for three days,” said Richard Fuka, who has worked for a long time in the industry and was the chairman of the former Rhode Island Fishermen’s. Alliance.

Fuka said he supported the iCell proposal, which would provide a clear benefit to the fishing industry as opposed to a boutique hotel, and agreed with the sentiments expressed in the letter from Atlantic Red Crab Co.

Narragansett town officials, however, say their proposal will raise all boats and no fisherman objected in a public meeting.

“We have a unique opportunity to take a dilapidated parking lot and restore our village center into a vibrant mix of uses that will reinforce our identity as a coastal fishing port,” Dzwierzynski said.

Brian Amaral can be contacted at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @bamaral44.


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