Sail Newport has launched a $10 million Campaign for BlueSpace to expand public access sailing programs, broaden its marine education programming and build a new Mid-Park Marine Education and Recreation Center on the waterfront at Fort Adams State Park.
“We believe that everyone in our community, especially children, should have access to the ‘blue space’ of Narragansett Bay and enjoy sailing and the ocean,” Brad Read, executive director of Sail Newport, shared in a prepared press release.
Read reports that the demand for sailing and marine education is thriving, and the non-profit organization already hosts over 1,000 youth sailors in the summer and tens of thousands of adult sailors each year. Through the Campaign for Blue Space, however, Sail Newport wants to do more for the community by tripling their educational endowment. The funding will allow Sail Newport to offer more public access programs and free programming to the community.
In a interview on July 7th, Read told me on The Open Forum on WADK1540AM that the fundraising campaign has already surpassed $5 million (50% of its goal).
Listen to the interview with Read here ( 41:30 – 53:49):
The new 8,500 square foot Mid-Park Marine Education and Recreation Center will provide more classrooms, offices, meeting spaces and restrooms open to the public year-round. Sail Newport will work collaboratively with the Newport rugby leagues to provide access to the new restrooms, changing rooms and showers.
Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed, a longtime champion of the use of Fort Adams State Park for the public’s recreational shared the following thought in a prepared press release, “The investments that Rhode Island has made at Fort Adams State Park have attracted world-class sailing events while also improving access to the bay for members of our community. This new facility will support the demand for the educational programs that Sail Newport will provide on a year-round basis. It will be an asset that makes Newport an even more attractive for residents and visitors.”
“For 33 years, Sail Newport has focused all its energy and resources on sailboats and support vessels. We have an impressive fleet of 152 boats and access to ample dock space,” adds Steve Kirkpatrick, president of the board of directors of Sail Newport in the press release. “After two years of planning, we’ve decided it’s time to expand programs and improve our shore side support facility. The Campaign for Blue Space will get us there,” he added.
Sail Newport reports that they are over halfway to their $10 million goal with leadership gifts received during the “quiet phase” of the campaign which started last November. Donors include local and national foundations and individuals including Sail Newport board and advisory board members.
Sail Newport is located on land leased through Rhode Island’s Department of Environmental Management (RI DEM). Sail Newport has been working with DEM and the National Park Service leaders for the design, project planning and permitting process. State leaders will work to fund a portion of the recreational facility as part of capital improvements for the state park.
With the new building as a platform, Sail Newport also anticipates attracting more world-class marine events, which have been proven to be economic engines for Rhode Island.
“Sail Newport’s Campaign for Blue Space will result in expanded programming and a new building that will improve opportunities and experiences for the public,” said Read in the release. “We are excited about being able to do more to serve our community.”