United States Senator Jack Reed and the RI Department of Environmental Management (DEM) announce that a $623,729 grant has been awarded to the Town of Bristol for the expansion of transient boating facilities at the Bristol Maritime Center. The grant is funded under the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration – Boating Infrastructure Grant Program (Tier 2). The project builds upon an $861,000 boating infrastructure grant that Bristol obtained in 2013 to renovate and transform the former Bristol Naval Reserve Armory into the Bristol Maritime Center.
“This federal funding will help boost the local economy by making Bristol more welcoming to boaters. I commend Bristol and DEM for putting together a successful bid. These federal dollars will help put people to work making these improvements. And when the work is completed, it could provide a needed lift to local shops and restaurants by attracting more visitors to Bristol,” said Senator Reed.
“We are excited to award this new infrastructure grant to further enhance the amenities available for visiting boaters at the Bristol Maritime Center,” said DEM Director Janet Coit. “As the Ocean State, we welcome thousands of transient boaters into our harbors each year to enjoy world-class boating and fishing, delicious seafood, sandy beaches, and breathtaking water vistas. Bristol is a historic and magical place that is doing so much to welcome and attract visitors. The quality of their proposal is the reason we will be able to add new facilities at the Maritime Center and improve our state’s appeal as a premier maritime destination.”
The expansion project includes construction of 19 transient slips for visiting boaters and the installation of a fuel dock to create a full-service facility. The proximity of the new slips and the Maritime Center to the heart of historic downtown Bristol make this an ideal location for visiting boaters. Some 40,000 boats are registered in Rhode Island, and the state welcomes many thousands more visiting boats each year.
The Bristol project was one of 13 top-ranked projects that were competitively selected from a national pool of 23 applications from 19 states.
“Bristol is very pleased to be receiving this Boating Infrastructure Grant for transient docks and a fuel service,” said Bristol Town Administrator Steven Contente. “The funding will help further our local investment and efforts to increase visitors by boat and support Bristol’s commercial and fishing fleet. I wish to thank Senator Jack Reed for his commitment and support.”
The grant requires a 25 percent funding match. Since 2011, DEM has awarded more than $3 million in federal Boating Infrastructure Grants in Rhode Island to add transient docks and support boater access in Bristol, Jamestown, Newport, North Kingstown, Portsmouth, Providence, and Westerly.