Press Releases

RIDOT Releases Fact Sheet on Silver Creek Project

Press Releases

RIDOT Announces Summer Ferry Service To Bristol



May 15, 2019 

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) today announced the return of the seasonal Providence-Newport Ferry service, setting sail on Friday, May 24 with new weekend stops in the bayside community of Bristol.

The new ferry service to Bristol is part of the trip to and from Newport, and runs on weekends from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. Special trips will be included for the Bristol Fourth of July Parade and WaterFire in Providence. Ferries between Providence and Newport run seven days a week, with three round trips daily during spring and fall shoulder seasons and four round trips during peak season and on weekends.

“When we launched this service, we always planned to expand it to other ports of call along beautiful Narragansett Bay,” RIDOT Director Peter Alviti, Jr. said. “After a successful first year providing service to the Bristol Fourth of July Parade, we decided to expand our service to Bristol throughout the summer. Just like our primary service between Providence and Newport, the ferries reduce congestion, motor vehicle emissions and parking problems.”

“We are pleased Seastreak is returning to Rhode Island and expanding service to Bristol,” said Rhode Island Commerce Corporation President Jesse Saglio. “Tourism is an important industry, and the ferry is an excellent opportunity for visitors and residents alike to experience the Ocean State.”

“The Town of Bristol is happy that Seastreak will be landing in Bristol, one of Rhode Island’s original ports,” said Bristol Town Administrator Steven Contente. “The ferry landing, along with the new Maritime Center and amenities, will be a hub for ferry passengers. The Town of Bristol offers day-trippers many fine restaurants and museums within walking distance of the historic downtown district. Visitors also can take advantage of the nearby Prudence Island Ferry as well as the start of the East Bay Bike Path. Thank you to the Rhode Island Department of Transportation and Seastreak for making this possible.”

The ferry service has been an economic boon as well. RIDOT conducted a survey of passengers last season and found that those who traveled to Newport solely because of the ferry on average spent about $78 per person. By comparison, the City of Newport conducted an economic impact survey of cruise-ship riders in 2010 that found an average spending of $25 per person. During the season, the ferry riders spent $730,000. Over 40 percent of the RIDOT survey respondents said they would not have visited Newport without the ferry.

Nearly 120,000 tickets have been sold since the ferry debuted in Summer 2016. Seastreak again will be the operator this year utilizing the ferry Ocean State. Ticket prices each way increased slightly, but remain very affordable at: $11 for adults, and $5.50 for children, seniors, and those with disabilities. Bikes and pets are again allowed aboard for no additional charge. Free parking is available in the Providence terminal.

Tickets are available now online at or by calling 1-800-BOATRIDE. Tickets will also be available on the first day of service at the Providence ferry terminal at 25 India St. in Providence, the Newport ferry terminal at Perrotti Park, 39 America’s Cup Ave., and the Bristol Maritime Center, 127 Thames St. The actual ferry dock in Bristol is a short walk away at the State Street Pier at the corner of Thames Street and State Street.

Advanced reservations are strongly recommended, especially for weekend trips, as departures from Providence in the morning and early afternoon were frequently sold out last year.

Another popular feature returning this year is an agreement for joint ticketing that allows passengers riding Amtrak trains to purchase a ticket that includes the ferry. RIDOT will continue its partnership with RIPTA to provide a free shuttle bus between the Providence ferry terminal and popular locations in the city, including Providence train station, the Rhode Island Convention Center, and Kennedy Plaza.

The Providence-Newport ferry is made possible by RhodeWorks, RIDOT’s ongoing commitment to repair structurally deficient bridges and bring Rhode Island’s transportation infrastructure into a state of good repair, promote economic development, and create jobs. Learn more at

For more information on this press release, please contact:

Charles St. Martin 

401-563-4007 or 401-641-8934

Administration Press Releases

Town Administrator Contente Appoints Interim Chief of Police


BRISTOL, RI– On Friday, March 8, 2019, Bristol Police Chief Josue D. Canario submitted to Bristol Town Administrator Steven Contente a letter of intent to retire effective May 9, 2019. Chief Canario has served with the Bristol Police Department for 33 years, the last 11 years as Police Chief. As of March 11, 2019, Chief Canario will be on voluntary medical leave until the date of his retirement, May 9, 2019.

On Monday, March 11, 2019, Town Administrator Steven Contente appointed Brian P. Peters as Interim Chief of Police. Chief Peters retired from the Portsmouth, RI Police Department in 2018 at the rank of Deputy Police Chief. Chief Peters has experience and training that includes management, investigations, budgeting, media relations, internal affairs, and professional standards. Chief Peters has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Administration of Justice from Salve Regina University and a Master’s of Science Degree in Criminal Justice from Roger Williams University. 

Chief Peters will serve in the role of Interim Police Chief while an application and testing process is advertised and conducted.

I wish to thank Chief Josue D. Canario for his 33 years of dedicated service to the Town of Bristol. I am confident that Chief Peters will provide professional law enforcement leadership at the Bristol Police Department.

Steven Contente
Bristol Town Administrator
Press Releases

2018 Full Revaluation Project Notice


April 9, 2019

Update: An extension has been granted to move the deadline to schedule a hearing to Friday, April 26, 2019. Please contact Northeast Revaluation group to schedule the appointment by calling 401-737-0300 or by visiting their website

March 3, 2019

BRISTOL, RI-The Town of Bristol will send out new property assessments at the end of March, as the result of the 2018 Full Revaluation project that the Town has conducted over the last year.  The state of RI mandates an update to the valuation every three years, and full property inspections every nine years.  The last “Full” Revaluation occurred in 2008.  The Town received a one-year extension of the full revaluation from the State Legislature, which moved the revaluation from 2017 to 2018.

The Town hired Northeast Revaluation Group from Warwick, RI to perform the work.  The firm spent most of 2018 inspecting all improved properties as well as analyzing property sales from 2017-2018.  As a result of the market study, property values have increased by approximately 18% for Residential Properties, 20% for Multi-family homes, and 10% for Commercial properties.  This followed the trend in RI of increases in the local Real Estate market over the last several years.  There will be a presentation by Northeast Revaluation Group at The Town Council meeting on Wednesday, March 27, 2019, at 7:00 pm. 

Included in the new assessment letter is information regarding a property owner’s option of appealing the new value with a representative from Northeast Revaluation.  Property owners will have several weeks to schedule an appointment either by phone or online, and the informal hearing process will run approximately three weeks.  The notice will have contact information for the contractor, Northeast Revaluation Group.  If you wish to discuss your new valuation, please contact them directly in accordance with the information provided on the notice.

Community Development Press Releases

Stony Hedge Farm Preserved Through Purchase Of Conservation Easement


January 16, 2019

BRISTOL, RI-Bristol Town  Administrator  Steven Contente is pleased to announce the purchase of a conservation easement for the Stony Hedge Farm located at 1362 Hope Street.   The Town of Bristol and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Natural Resource Conservation  Service (NRCS) have partnered to purchase the development rights to the Stony Hedge Farm property located on 7 acres of land at 1362  Hope  Street.    The Town of Bristol and the NRCS  each contributed  50 percent of the funds towards the $426,000.00 purchase price.  Town funds were authorized through a bond referendum approved by voters in 2016.   USDA funds were provided through the Agricultural  Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) administered through NRCS.

The Stony Hedge Farm is owned by William B. White and is one of only a few active farms remaining in Bristol.   Its preservation will ensure that this property remains agricultural in perpetuity.   The Stony  Hedge Farm currently houses several horses and is also used for the production of vegetables.   The farm property is also located adjacent to over  100 acres of Town-owned open space in the north-central portion of Bristol.  Town Administrator  Contente said “I am proud that this piece of Bristol’s agricultural land will be preserved and wish to thank the NRCS for their assistance and funding. I especially  want to thank Mr. White for his commitment  to preserve his land for future generations.”  Working with the NRCS  and  Mr.  White,  the  Bristol Department of Community  Development, coordinated all aspects of this farmland preservation project.     “Farmland Preservation is an important goal of the Town and a  priority in the Town’s Comprehensive  Plan.   We are grateful to Mr. White and are pleased that we could help him with the preservation of his wonderful farm,” said Diane M. Williamson, Director of Community Development

The Stony Hedge Farm remains privately owned, with the Town of Bristol and USDA holding a conservation easement on the property which prevents its development and ensures that it remains in agricultural use.

Economic Development Press Releases

Black Ships Return To Bristol In 2019

October 4, 2018

BRISTOL, RI-Today, the Town of Bristol and Japan-America Society of Rhode Island (JASRI) announced that the Black Ships Festival will be returning to Bristol in 2019.

“The Town of Bristol is pleased to help bring back the Black Ships Festival for a second year,” said Steven Contente, Bristol’s Town Administrator. “We look forward to working with the organization as the host community.”

The 2018 Black Ships Festival, which was hosted from July 13-July 15, included an Opening Ceremony, Martial Arts & Crafts Fair, Taiko Drum Concert and Gala. Over the course of the weekend, the festival had a combined crowd of 3,514 and local economic impact of over $100,000. Out of the attendees surveyed, 70.8% said the festival was the main reason for visiting downtown, Bristol.

“The Town of Bristol is excited to be supporting an event that boosts our local economy and brings visitors into our different storefronts,” said Chris Vitale, Bristol’s Economic Development Coordinator. “Our goal is to help make next year’s event even more successful.”

The three-day Black Ships celebration commemorates Commodore Matthew Perry, a Newport native who successfully negotiated the first trade treaty with Japan. Although the festival began in Newport, Dr. Patrick Conley, the General Counsel and Executive Board Member of JASRI, pushed for the move to Bristol because of the Perry family’s local heritage.

Dr. Conley, who also serves as Rhode Island’s Historian Laureate, noted, “Commodore Matthew Perry was the brother of Navy commander Raymond Perry, and the brother of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, the hero of the 1813 Battle of Lake Erie. Raymond Perry married Marianne DeWolf, youngest daughter of James DeWolf, who gave the couple a 36-acre estate on Hope Street along Silver Creek. The 1680 Bosworth house where the Perrys lived still stands. In addition to that property, a portion of which is occupied by Thomas Park, Raymond inherited Hog Island from his father-in-law in 1837. Matthew and Oliver visited Raymond’s Bristol home frequently and stayed there when the Perry brothers built a warship in Warren. Raymond’s grandson, Reverend James DeWolf Perry, was a long-time Episcopal bishop of Rhode Island and for nearly eight years the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church in America. The Perry family owned the Bosworth- Perry House until 1957.”

The 36th Annual Black Ships Festival returns to Bristol starting Friday, August 9, 2019, at Independence Park. Additional information on the celebration will be announced at a later date.

Economic Development Press Releases

Bristol Receives Qualified Opportunity Zone Designation By U.S. Treasury


May 21, 2018

BRISTOL, RI-On May 21, 2018, the U.S. Treasury designated the Town of Bristol’s Census Tract 307 as a Qualified Opportunity Zone (QOZ). Created as part of the Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017, the Opportunity Zones Program is a new approach to encourage private-investment in low-income neighborhoods around the country.

These investments come in the form of U.S. Treasury Certified Opportunity Funds. Investors with capital gains tax liabilities will be able to make equity investments in businesses and real estate. Individuals do not need to live in a Qualified Opportunity Zone to invest in these funds.

“This gives Bristol another tool to attract new investment into town while also making a positive impact in the areas of our community that need it the most,” said Chris Vitale, Bristol’s Economic Development Coordinator, “We look forward to working with the State and Federal government on rolling out this program.” Census Tract 307 was one of 25 area in Rhode Island nominated by Governor Gina M. Raimondo for this program. Among the areas included in Census Tract 307 are Bristol’s Historic Downtown and Wood Street neighborhood.

The Opportunity Zones Program offers three tax benefits for investing in a qualified Opportunity Fund. This program will allow investors to defer paying capital gains taxes on funds invested in a Qualified Opportunity Fund, provide a gradual reduction of their original taxable capital gains, and provide a permanent exclusion from taxes on capital gains realized in the investment if it’s held for over 10 years.

In the coming weeks, the Town of Bristol will be providing additional program details and resources on its website. For questions regarding the Opportunity Zone Program, please contact Chris Vitale, Economic Development Coordinator at [email protected].