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NK Firm Hired to Demolish, Restore Rocky Point

"Anytime you get into something like this, you like to get the job done right," Jonathan Key, president of NK's HK&S, said.

Jonathan Key, president of North Kingstown-based HK&S Construction Holding Corp., said knowing the storied history of Rocky Point in Warwick as an iconic Rhode Island cultural landmark will make his crews take just a little more pride in their work as they knock down its last vestiges.

"Anytime you get into something like this, you like to get the job done right," Key said.

Their work will consist of knocking down and removing the old Windjammer Lounge, the Palladium Ballroom and the Shore Dinner Hall along with other relics of the famed amusement park that entertained generations of Rhode Islanders with rides like the Corkscrew, Freefall and too many memorable concerts on the bay to count.

"It's neat to go there to the site and see some of the old buildings and things we'll be taking down," Key said, noting his company will be taking extensive photos before, during and after their work.

HK&S was one of two responders to a bid request, and along with the demolition work, they'll prepare the site for its future redevelopment, which might include expanded walking trails, recreational facilities and other amenities.

The state is expected to look for public-private partnerships to redevelop the site. Already, officials are eying the opening up of the shore to make the land more accessible by boat, a coastal park and more. 

The state Department of Environmental Management has pledged to work with the Rocky Point Foundation and the City of Warwick as well as explore federal funding for any redevelopment project.

"DEM recognizes that Rocky Point holds many special memories of the past for generations of Rhode Islanders.  Development of a new coastal state park will feature remaining elements of the former amusement park, which may include the base of a stone observation tower, Rocky Point arch, and the base of the circle swing, if they are deemed structurally sound," officials said in a statement.

Key said the biggest challenge for his crews will be the asbestos removal required in the old structures. It has to be removed and cleaned up before the two buildings are taken down entirely.

HK&S moved to North Kingstown after outgrowing its prior home in Newport. The company has revenues of about $15 million per year and employs about 50.

The $3.064 million contract will ensure 25 people will be working at the site during the asbestos removal period and Key said at least 10 to 15 will be working there for the next three months.

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