Rocky Point nostalgia overflows at open space press event

Sep 17, 2012

Fond memories of the late, great Rocky Point Amusement Park ran strong when a bevy of local, state and federal officials converged this morning to announce plans for preserving the park’s remaining 82 acres.

Senator Jack Reed noted how Rocky Point, which closed in 1995, remains iconic in Rhode Island:

“It is a strong memory for those of us who are of a certain age. I’m looking around — there are a couple of us here today,” he said to laughter from the audience that turned out for the event. Reed, who grew up in Cranston, looked into his mind’s eye:

“We are now, I think, located by the saltwater swimming pool, which is a distant memory. The palladium, the shore dinner hall — that was all part of growing up in Rhode Island, and we’re going to preserve those memories and preserve the feeling that has always been here at Rocky Point as a place to go and recreate.”

Forty-one acres of shoreline property at Rocky Point were preserved through a city-state-federal effort in 2007. The state purchase announced today, from the US Small Business Administration, requires federal court approval.

Reed noted that a vaudeville performer in 1902 called Rocky Point the best picnic spot in Rhode Island. Preserving the space will restore that distinction, he said.

Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian said the latest purchase is one of the state’s largest of open space. “Slow and steady win the race,” he said, describing how efforts to preserve the former amusement park site date to the early part of Lincoln Almond’s time as governor.