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Is There a Spot for Slots in Quonset?

Is there room in Quonset for a world-class casino?


Quonset Point may be the ideal spot for a world-class casino in the eyes of .

A former Naval base, Quonset Business Park boasts 3,207 acres of land. However, only 468 acres are available for development and 166 of that is either preserved, under option or under negotiation. ()

“Quonset is a busy place that is getting crowded, and so that will create some challenges,” said Quonset Development Corporation spokesperson David Preston.

No detailed plans or legislation have been presented on a proposal for a casino in Quonset Point. Preston estimates developers would need about 175 acres of land, based on the size of nearby casinos: Mohegan Sun in Connecticut is about 188 acres, Twin River in Lincoln around 149 acres and Foxwoods in Connecticut has about 145 acres, Preston said.

“Conservatively, you’re looking at 175 acres,” said Preston. “It’s going to be hard to piece together 175 acres in Quonset.”

The largest empty parcel in Quonset is a 62-acre plot in West Davisville between Post Road and the Amtrak railroad with no empty adjacent lots. Though Quonset Business Park has about 30 open parcels, they are spread out across the park from the railroad tracks to the Port of Davisville.

“I can’t see how a casino the size they're talking about would fit in the land they’re talking about here,” said North Kingstown Town Council President Elizabeth Dolan, who also sits on QDC’s Board of Directors. “Quonset is not the right place nor does it have the capacity for a casino of that magnitude.”

State Sen. James Sheehan (D-North Kingstown, Narragansett) also questions how a "large-scale casino" will fit into the growing business park, which now boasts the 8th largest auto importer in the country.

"Quonset is a commerce and industrial park that's been developed efficiently over the years," said Sheehan. "People still think it’s a big open space with tumbleweeds flying around. They just don’t know what’s going on down there.”

Quonset Business Park houses working in more than 164 businesses in the park, including powerhouses like and , which alone employs about 2,000 workers. According to Preston, one in every 50 of those working in Rhode Island works in Quonset Business Park.

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“When Massachusetts builds its three casinos — which they will do — we’re going to lose money,” Trillo said in an interview Wednesday night. “It’s not a question of whether you want gambling or don’t want gambling. Gambling is here.”

Though Massachusetts has made steps toward expanding gambling, Sheehan doesn’t believe casinos are the right means to boost the state’s economy.

“I don’t see them as a wealth spring of development, but rather as a black hole,” said Sheehan.

An expansion of gambling in Rhode Island would require a statewide referendum and approval of the host community — in this case North Kingstown.

“My sense is that most residents in North Kingstown, they see this as a bedroom community and are not going to look to fondly at an Atlantic City-style casino in Quonset,” said Sheehan.

For Sheehan, the proposal eerily resembles the battle against turning Quonset Point into a major container port nearly a decade ago. The proposal, opposed by most North Kingstown residents and Gov. Donald Carcieri when he initially ran for election, died in the water in 2002.

Sheehan says he plans to reach out to members of the North Kingstown Town Council and his counterparts in the General Assembly to discuss the potential effects of the proposal.

MeanE January 06, 2012 at 02:00 PM
"People still think it’s a big open space with tumbleweeds flying around. They just don’t know what’s going on down there.” This quote is why I believe that Quonset is a perfect place for a casino! How many people form NK travel through Quonset regularly? With the new infrastructure, many NK residents would not even know that there was a casino, Quonset is perfectly isolated from 99% of NK residents. It is not like they are talking about putting it up in Wickford. As I have said previously, if NK can gain valuable tax revenue, I am all for it. I know the jobs are low paying, and I know that a casino will not benefit surrounding businesses. However, I do feel that the benefits of increased tax revenue outweigh the costs associated with having a casino in our town!
Joan Mcafee January 06, 2012 at 04:28 PM
Lowes is vacant. How much land surrounds it. Newport Cruise ships could water taxi people to a Quonset landing point then shuttle to a glitzy casino there. How much space would be needed with multi level parking garage. The water taxi would make sense to bring people from Providence hotels for a Narragansett Bay experience too. It could work. I'm all for lower NK property taxes.
Noreswindnk January 06, 2012 at 08:11 PM
Have to ask myself "why would a representative of the people of Warwick and another of the people of Providence be interested in driving a casino OUT of their districts to ours"? Think about it. If it was so great, wouldn't they be screaming to have it where their voters and they would benefit? If NK's Sheehan, Ehrhardt, and Costa were proposing this and Trillo & Carnevale opposing it, THEN I'd be interested in hearing the details. Right now it sounds like NK is getting set up and I smell a rat. Someone's next post will probably be "Yeah, less business in NK means less tax relief and fewer jobs", but Q is STATE not part of NK. NK gets only the problems, not the bulk of the tax benefits. Thnk about VW, GD, Toray, the airport, etc. and how much of those taxes we in NK see. State of RI gets that tax revenue, not us. Jobs? We can drive to Warwick as easily as Q for a job, can't we? Put the casino elsewhere, they get the problems, our residents still can get the jobs, and we still have a "bedroom community" to live in! Win-win-win.
MeanE January 06, 2012 at 09:17 PM
Do you have something that backs up your tax revenue statements regarding State vs. NK? If what you say is true, why is this the case? If there is no revenue for NK, why does NK have to provide services to Quonset? Where else in the state is there acres with the kind of access by planes, trains, boat, and auto that there is in Quonset? I believe this is why representatives of other towns are proposing Quonset. I don't feel that having a casino in Quonset changes NK from a "bedroom community" to a metropolis. Bottom line: NK TAX REVENUE = I VOTE YES on Casino, NO NK TAX REVENUE = I VOTE NO on Casino

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