Narragansett – Welcoming newly appointed town manager, Pamela T. Nolan, to the table, the Galilee Advisory Committee, on Tuesday, quickly moved to the work of promoting new business and advancing economic development at the Port of Galilee.
The twelve-member committee, joined by Larry Mouradjian, Associate Director at the Department of Environmental Management (DEM) and Daniel Costa, Galilee Port Manager for DEM’s Division of Coastal Resources, addressed current happenings at several port properties located on land owned by the State of Rhode Island.
Local business looks to expand at the Port
Mouradjian presented information contained in a Request for Proposal (RFP) submitted by KSJ Seafood, Inc. (KSJ) of Narragansett for use of the site of the vacated Slavin Ice Plant located at 272 Great Island Road. KSJ, whose fleet is berthed in New Bedford has been a family-owned business for several generations. A fishing family, the Reposa’s history expands abroad.
“It’s been a long time,” said Jeremy Reposa in a phone interview. “It started a long time ago in Portugal. It was my father’s grandfather, so I guess it’s actually four generations.”
Three vessels owned by KSJ are not slated to occupy permanent berths at the port. The proposal as presented would have the vessels docking, unloading, packing the product and distributing to buyers. KSJ plans to make product available for sale to local restaurants and retailers, as well as additional clients.
“Boats would pull into dock, transfer the product to the holding tank. There would be an initial packing and then the product would be transferred to trucks,” said Costa.
According to Mouradjian, KSJ demonstrated its ability to maintain the proposed use in a sustainable manner. Seeking a proposal that supported the fishing industry as a whole and consistent with the fishing port’s culture, Mouradjian explained the benefits of the lease and answered questions from committee members.
“The company presented itself and plans in terms of viability,” said Mouradjian. “We think that it’s the best use of the property.”
Initial plans for the site include a catch holding facility and transfer tanks on the first floor, with administrative offices located on the second floor.
The proposal will be formally presented at a meeting of the Galilee Lease Advisory Committee on Thursday, November 14 at 3:00 p.m.
Interstate Navigation offices almost ready
The newly constructed offices of Interstate Navigation, owner and operator of the Block Island Ferry are close to completion according to Costa. The company is currently awaiting its certificate of occupancy and then plans to begin move of their administrative offices from Connecticut to the port within the next couple of weeks.
“We are very excited to be coming to Rhode Island,” said John Linda, Vice President of the company. “It has been a long time in the making and is definitely a work in progress.”
A long history of ties to Rhode Island and the port, now all administration for Interstate Navigation will be run out of the Galilee offices upon completion of the move.
“We have been doing business in Rhode Island for 80 years now,” said Linda. “We hope to have everything up and running in Galilee by Christmas, but definitely by the end of December. There will be at least five people moving here from New London and the vast majority of our workers are already Rhode Island residents.”
The state has extended the question and answer period for the $6 million South Bulkhead project to allow more time for prospective contractors to obtain detailed information regarding project requirements and specifications.
Costa recently held an informational session with current leasholders at the port to discuss the details of the project.
“The meeting allowed all leaseholders who will be impacted by the project an opportunity to sit down before it happened and talk a little bit about construction constraints, timelines and periods of construction,” said Costa. “We took some of those comments and questions and worked them into our construction guidelines.”
The committee also talked about aesthetics at the port, including the possibility of adding more natural items such as flowers, plantings and trees to spruce up the common areas and create a more tourist friendly atmosphere.