STATE HOUSE – The North Kingstown delegation to the Rhode Island General Assembly met today with Gov. Lincoln Chafee to discuss the recent success of the Quonset Business Park and the Port of Davisville. Rep. Larry Ehrhardt, Sen. Dawson Hodgson and Sen. James Sheehan joined the Governor along with representatives of the Quonset Development Corporation and North Kingstown Town Council President Liz Dolan at the briefing. Rep. Donald Lally and Rep. Doreen Costa were unable to attend.
“I think we made it clear to the Governor and the state: North Kingstown and Quonset are open for business” said Senator Dawson Hodgson (R. East Greenwich, North Kingstown, Potowomut). “In particular, we are very proud of the collaboration between QDC and town government producing a streamlined permit process that is responsive to the needs of companies looking to move to Quonset or expand existing operations. This is a real competitive advantage.”
“After 10 years of discussion, I am gratified to see the recent consultant’s report is grounded in Quonset’s ongoing success, and we can put some perennially discussed ideas to rest once and for all,” said Representative Laurence Ehrhardt (R. North Kingstown)
In recent months Gov. Chafee has advocated his view that Rhode Island can create jobs by building on existing assets. The Quonset Business Park, with 8,800 people working at 168 companies, is one of those assets. The Port of Davisville is the 8th largest auto importer in North America, and the second fastest growing in 2010. Recently, the Business Park passed a number of milestones, including:
- Developers and state officials, including Senator Jack Reed, Congressman Jim Langevin and Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Roberts cut the ribbon last week on the new TownePlace Suites by Marriott on Gate Road. The 103-room "green" hotel, financed through SBA's 504 program, is the largest in the history of the program here in Rhode Island.
The 55,453-sf hotel features an energy efficient geothermal system for cooling and heating and used recycled and local materials during construction.
- A recent report commissioned by a special legislative commission studying Rhode Island's ports highlighted the Port of Davisville's recent successes, supported the existing strategic approach and offered useful direction for future growth.
Highlighting the auto import business as one of the state's most important port-related economic assets, the report found that the Port of Davisville imported 134,575 autos in 2010 – more than eight times more than the Port of Boston. The report also noted the potential for growth in the short sea shipping market, which is anticipated by the arrival of a port crane as part of Quonset's TIGER grant by the end of 2012.
Overall, the study's authors, Martin Associates, confirmed Quonset's strategic approach to growing its port business, which focuses on expanding the auto business, possibly expanding its food cargo business, and preparing for potential growth in container short sea shipping and the wind energy construction market.
- Major improvements planned for the Port of Davisville in the Quonset Business Park are on schedule and moving towards a heavy construction phase as warm weather approaches. Made possible by a $22.3 million federal TIGER grant awarded to Quonset last year, thanks to the efforts of Sen. Jack Reed and the Rhode Island congressional delegation, the project will add significant new port capacity.
Release courtesy of the Rhode Island General Assembly press office.