New Public Pier at Fields Point offers kayaking, touch-and-go docking, fishing and bird watching
by Cindy Sabato, director of communications
Mother Nature gave Save The Bay a sweet 50th anniversary gift on May 20. It was the first beautiful, sunny, warm day of the season, and it happened to the be the day we cut the ribbon on our new public pier at Fields Point. Kayakers on the Providence River served as a poignant backdrop and nearly 100 people filled the new deck as we thanked the many funders for their support of the project and cut the ribbon to officially open the new pier.
Fulfilling a Vision
Public access to the Bay means a lot to us at Save The Bay. The pier is the final piece of our vision for our Fields Point headquarters, as a community access point to upper Narragansett Bay. The accessible pier offers a 240-foot, floating concrete touch-and-go dock, two kayak launches, and a wooden deck for fishing, bird watching, and taking in views of the Bay. Like the Bay Center grounds, the pier and dock are open from dawn to dusk.
“From our earliest days nearly 50 years ago, Save The Bay has been committed to protecting the public’s right, enshrined in the state constitution, to access Narragansett Bay. We invite our neighbors in South Providence, Washington Park, and Edgewood, and welcome all visitors from near and far, to enjoy the new pier and grounds at Fields Point,” said Save The Bay Executive Director Jonathan Stone.
“When I arrived today there was a middle school class getting ready to go out on the boat, and they were so excited about learning about organisms in the water. I thought, ‘when I was in school, we didn’t get to go out on a boat during the school day!’ It was just an example of one of the great uses of this pier and the difference it’s going to make in the lives of young people who will become stewards of the water,” said Congressman David Cicilline during the ceremony.
“Save The Bay deserves enormous credit for having hung in there decade after decade to get these waters to the point where they are now…. It’s part of a turnaround from an industrial waterfront to a recreational waterfront. This is a chance to look back and say ‘thank you,'” said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse.
Gratitude for Many Funders
The public pier is made possible by generous support from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Johnson and Wales University, the James M. Cox Foundation, REI, the Champlin Foundation, Island Foundation, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the Rhode Island College Paul V. Sherlock Center on Disabilities, and many private funders.
In acknowledging all the funders, Gov. Gina Raimondo said, “This is a public-private partnership. I’m here and thrilled that the state of Rhode Island is an investor, and thank you to our federal government. But let’s be honest, we would not be here but for the private investment. Great things happen when the public sector comes together with the private sector to invest in Rhode Island. To all the businesses and foundations and private investors, ‘thank you.'”