Portsmouth, R.I,–The Town of Portsmouth and Aquidneck Land Trust (ALT) have acquired 4.9 acres of scenic land and water for a future waterfront community park in northern Portsmouth next to Mount Hope Bridge and adjacent to the Portsmouth Town Common.

Under the arrangement, the Town of Portsmouth will hold ownership and Aquidneck Land Trust the conservation easement, which will permanently protect the property as open space and parklands.

The parcel is located at the intersection of Bayview Ave and Bristol Ferry Road and juts out into Mount Hope Bay, featuring scenic views of the bridge and surrounding water.

The site has a rich history dating back to the 1600s where it served as the ferry landing between Portsmouth and Bristol up until the construction of the Mount Hope Bridge in 1929.

While currently in need of site clearing and seawall renovation, ALT and the Town envision a waterfront park for visitors to enjoy passive recreation activities. Portsmouth Town Council President Keith Hamilton commented, “The Mount Hope Marina property is an important part of Portsmouth’s history. It is a location where many of our Town’s early settlers came ashore. It will be a beautiful waterfront park for all of Portsmouth to be able to enjoy forever.”

A park planning process with community involvement funded through a private foundation grant will occur in the next year to determine the best design and recreational use for the future park. The timeline established will have the park ready to open by the summer of 2017.

The property was purchased from a number of limited liability companies with members from Bristol for $900,000. Both the Town of Portsmouth and the Aquidneck Land Trust contributed to the purchase price.

“Portsmouth is lacking in waterfront public access open space. The land trust is thrilled to work with the Town to bring a waterfront park to Portsmouth with such high scenic and recreational conservation values. I’m excited to see the Mount Hope site transform into a gem along the Portsmouth coast” said Chuck Allott, Executive Director of the Aquidneck Land Trust.

(Photo by Craig Issod)

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