Leadership RI opens path to Rocky Point history

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As the old song lyric goes, “Sign, sign, everywhere a sign,” and thanks to an ambitious project by Leadership Rhode Island, historic informational signs will soon be constructed throughout Rocky Point Park.

Leadership Rhode Island, a non-profit, nationally recognized community leadership development organization, provides leaders and emerging leaders with resources that enable them to positively affect their communities.

Working in partnership with the City of Warwick and the Department of Environmental Management (DEM), the organization proposes to design and install about a dozen point of interest signs along walking paths at Rocky Point.

“The walking path will take the walker by the water, through the woods and fields, and past the relics of Rocky Point Amusement Park. Outdoor interpretive exhibits will be placed at select points of interests along the walking path,” said Mike Ritz, executive director of Leadership Rhode Island, by email. “These signs should tell the story of the point, evoke memories, and stimulate the walker to explore the topic further. In addition, a large general historical sign will be posted at the beginning of the path. This path is just one project in the larger renaissance of the Rock Point Shoreline and Park.”

The signs will include colorful images of the park’s past, along with a narrative that will help visitors locate and identify the locations of former amusement park attractions such as the House of Horrors, Shore Dinner Hall, the saltwater pool and the first presidential phone call, which was made from the park in 1877.

Last year, the organization held statewide meetings to determine what action each community in the state would like to move forward with during the next year. Members of the leadership class of 2016, called Team 8 and consisting of seven residents from Warwick, West Warwick and Coventry, chose to assist in the further development of Rocky Point as a project.

“We all have fond memories of Rocky Point, whether it’s from the amusements, concerts when we were teenagers, or just the beautiful area of our state,” said Jennifer Massotti, general manager and partner of Barrington Books Retold and a member of Leadership Rhode Island’s class of 2016. “Our team has been very active in putting together specific points of interest. We will have signage similar to the types you’d see in a national park with historical graphics, brief blurbs and fun facts.”

Funding for the project will come from community leaders, businesses and other foundations, with sign placement planned for October. With a budget of $15,000, the signs will be constructed by AA Thrifty Sign in Warwick that had previously created the Rocky Point Arch sign at the corner of Warwick Neck and Rocky Point Avenues.

“We want something with permanence, so that we can take our own children through years from now to see. We’re proud to be part of this project,” said Massotti, who added that the materials used for the signs construction would include vandalism proof materials, a UV coating to protect against fading, and be condensation proof.

While a concept for the signs has been designed and sent to the city and DEM for approval, additional changes may be made based on provided feedback to ensure accuracy. The organization also hopes to include an electronic component to the project, such as a smartphone app or a link to the city’s website, for additional information.

“It’s very exciting. I can’t wait to see the final results,” said Mayor Scott Avedisian.

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JohnStark

This is a great idea. Anyone who has walked the path has seen fellow walkers pointing out former landmarks and memories. This will only enhance the experience.

Thursday, September 1, 2016