BRISTOL, RI- On Wednesday, June 15th, 2022, Bristol Town Administrator Steven Contente and the Bristol Town Council were joined by local, state, and federal officials to celebrate the grand opening of the Bristol Harbor Marina.
“Today’s opening is another milestone in Bristol’s return as a vibrant port,” said Bristol Town Administrator Steven Contente. “We look forward to welcoming visiting ships to our community and encourage all of our residents to enjoy the improved access to the water as well as the modern amenities this public facility has to offer.”
“The Council is thrilled that the marina expansion is a reality,” said Vice Council Chairwoman Mary Parella. “This is another wonderful example of a project that represents a true collaboration between local officials, state officials, and the people of Bristol. A special thank you to our Harbormaster, Greg Marselli, for taking the lead on this project.”
The Bristol Harbor Marina, which is located next to the Bristol Maritime Center at 127 Thames Street, features the addition of 78 slips to service residents, businesses, and transient boaters. The new marina also includes ADA-accessible ramps, concrete floats with wave attenuators, a dedicated fuel depot, a pump-out station, up to 50AMP power service for boats, and water service for boats effective July 1st.
“I want to congratulate the Town of Bristol on the expansion of the Bristol Harbor Marina,” said Governor McKee. “This marina is an important driver of Bristol’s economy that will bring in revenue, promote tourism and spending at downtown businesses, and boost the marine industry that is so crucial to this area. Thank you to Town Administrator Contente and Senator Reed and all who had a part in getting this project over the finish line.”
Today’s event is the culmination of a multi-year effort to modernize and expand the municipally-owned marina.
In 2016, the Town of Bristol hired PARE Corporation to survey potential locations and design the expansion. With the donation of the water rights from Robin Industries, the Town was able to design the expansion south of the existing marina. In total, the Bristol Harbor Marina expansion project cost was $6.5M.
To fund the project, the Town of Bristol issued two local bonds totaling $5.5M as well as received federal grant support.
In 2020, United States Senator Jack Reed and the RI Department of Environmental Management (DEM) awarded the Town of Bristol a grant of $623,729 through the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration – Boating Infrastructure Grant Program (Tier 2) to support the expansion of the town’s transient boating facilities.
“This is a great day for boaters and fishermen and this facility will help welcome more nautical visitors to Bristol. I’m pleased to deliver federal funding to help berth this marina. This facility will provide an opportunity for outdoor fun and recreation on the water while also boosting the local economy, bringing more customers to local shops, restaurants, and retail,” said U.S. Senator Jack Reed.
Through increased capacity, fuel sale profits, and a new slip fee structure, the new facility is designed to be self-sustaining. According to a 2021 financial analysis prepared by Bristol Harbormaster Gregg Marsili, the marina is projected to have positive net income in its first full year of operation. By year four, the net income of the municipal marina is projected to be $293K.
Construction of the Bristol Harbor Marina was completed by Reagan Marine Construction under Bid #962. The new marina is expected to be fully open on July 1st, 2022.
To learn more about the Bristol Harbor Marina, please visit the Town website at: https://www.bristolri.gov/departments/harbor/ or call the Bristol Harbormaster’s Office at 401-253-1700.