The Middletown Town Council recently met to discuss the proposal to repair and upgrade the launch ramp at Third Beach, near Newport, Rhode Island.
Reportedly, the RI Department of Environmental Management has agreed to pay up to 75% of the cost of the ramp improvements, which would include a pumpout facility. According to the Rhode Island Saltwater Angers Association, the improved ramp would provide better access to some of the state’s top inshore fishing grounds.
Here are some notes from the initial Council meeting, held last week, concerning the ramp:
1. Resident Tom Newman and the Beach Commission sought to obtain pass-through grant funding from RIDEM to improve the Third Beach boat ramp last winter. The Beach Commission has long prioritized this project because the existing ramp poorly services the Third Beach Harbor; a new ramp is expected to address the following issues:
- Enhance the Harbormaster’s ability to manage the efficient launch and retrieval of vessels from the ramp, and operations within the Third Beach Harbor itself.
- Improve the ability to safely launch and retrieve vessels without endangering the safety of other boaters or beach patrons; damaging vessels or the vehicle used to tow them.
- Provide an adequate marine pump-out facility in an ecologically sensitive area.
- Improve access to and from the shore, to include making access available to those with physical handicaps.
- Enhance the ability for emergency responders to launch and operate equipment at Third Beach Harbor and adjacent waterways.
2. The initiative was presented to the Town Council, and in turn the administration was directed to prepare and submit an application to RIDEM for funding. The council was notified that the Town was awarded a grant for the project which will reimburse the Town for 75% of the associated project costs. The project is included in the Town’s Capital Improvement Program, and certified by the planning board as compliant with the Town’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan as required under Town Ordinance §35.03. Unfortunately, the council did not anticipate a grant award this quickly, and the project is programmed in an out-year, which will require the Finance Director to investigate options for funding the Town’s match requirement.