From Newport This Week:
Brad Read has charted a bold course for Sail Newport. He’s teamed up with the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management and is proposing a new marine educational and recreational facility in Fort Adams State Park.
Read said, “The new facility will enable Sail Newport to offer year round programming. We will have many classrooms and more room for instruction, coaching and meetings. The improved facility will better serve the community and allow us to manage more world-class sailing events in Rhode Island.”
A former world champion in the J-24 class, college sailor of the year, and the current executive director of Sail Newport, Read’s dream is for every fifth-grader in Newport County to have an educational experience based on the water.
Elected officials are on board. President of the Senate M. Teresa Paiva Weed said, “The investments that Rhode Island has made at Fort Adams State Park have attracted world-class sailing events while also improving access to the bay for members of our community. This new facility will support the demand for the educational programs that Sail Newport will provide on a year-round basis. It will be an asset that makes Newport an even more attractive for residents and visitors.”
Known as the gold standard of public sailing programs, Sail Newport offers a wide variety of instructional, racing and recreational programs for sailors of all ages. As a result of their success, Sail Newport has outgrown its facilities and there are currently waiting lists for many educational programs.
The new center will enable Sail Newport to increase classroom opportunities for children and adults for sailing and marine education. It will also include multiple meeting rooms, offices, and a dock office for the adult instructional, racing and rental programs.
Heated, year-round restrooms will replace portable toilets that are normally in the Fort Adams mid-park area. The facilities will benefit sailors, rugby enthusiasts who play on the nearby field, and the general public.
The new administrative offices will allow for centralized regatta organization for major events such as the Volvo Ocean Race and other regattas that fuel the Ocean State’s economy.
DEM Director Janet Coit is enthused about the possibilities. She said, “Our parks are beloved by Rhode Islanders and visitors alike and are important to the economic vitality of our state. We must continue to invest in them. The historic Fort Adams State Park is a breathtaking venue that attracts topnotch sailing races, concerts and other events, while also providing popular programming for area residents.”
She noted that more than one million people visit the fort each year, and her goal is to offer them the best experience possible.
Scheduled to break ground in September of 2016, the new building will be located on the waterfront adjacent to Admiral’s Pier in the mid-park area. It will be environmentally sustainable and will use renewable energies, solar panels, energy efficient fixtures, and eco-friendly materials. A system has been designed to capture rainwater and reuse it for washing boats, irrigating the landscape, and flushing in the restrooms.
Mohamad Farzan of Newport Architects created the design and a team of engineers led by Chris Feeney of Louis Berger & Associates of Providence worked on the structural details.
The National Park Service has posted an environmental assessment and an assessment of effect on its website for public review and comment at park planning. nps.gov. The documents are also available for review at Sail Newport and the Newport Public Library until April 18.