Greater City Providence

ProJo: Bustling recreational destination planned for vacant Shooters site in Providence

Former “Shooters” Building in 2010

Seven years after Rhode Island voters approved buying the former Shooters nightclub site on the Providence waterfront to turn it into a recreational destination, plans to redevelop the vacant lot may finally be inching forward.

The state Department of Environmental Management wants to build a fishing pier, transient boating marina and ferry dock at the site, which the agency purchased for $3.2 million with the proceeds of a 2010 state bond.

The details and budget for these shoreline projects are still being worked out, but DEM Director Janet Coit said Thursday that preliminary plans show a 200-plus-foot, L-shaped fishing pier that could accommodate the Providence-Newport ferry, boat slips and dinghy storage.

Advocates for developing the site hope that finishing plans for the marina will allow action to kick into gear on the long-languishing 1.4-acre land side of the property.

David Dadekian, founder of Eat Drink Rhode Island, hopes to build a public food market on the site, but has so far made only minimal progress and said he needs the state to finish its plans for the entire property before he can seek financing.

This has great potential to be a wonderful attraction for residents and visitors alike. Our options to enjoy the waterfront are sadly limited, and active uses of the waterfront are needed. As lovely as India Point Park is, people want things to do, like eating and drinking.

To truly succeed, the City and State have to commit to maintaing the waterfront. The walk under the highway is a trash strewn and weed overgrown shamehole that no one wants to visit, that needs to change. Also, the Wickenden/Point, South Main, South Water interchange was poorly designed and throws up another barrier to pedestrians and cyclists who want to reach the waterfront. The completion of the Providence River Pedestrian bridge will provide a much needed connection between downtown and the Fox Point waterfront, it needs to be maintained and be safe and attractive.

The maintenance part is where we so often lose the plot around here.

Jef Nickerson

Jef is Greater City Providence's co-founder, editor, and publisher. He grew up on Cape Cod and lived in Boston; Portland, Maine; and New York before settling in Providence. In addition to urbanism, Jef is interested in art, design, and ice cream. Please feel free to contact Jef if you have any question or comments about Greater City Providence.


  • I’ve been waiting for this! This has huge potential to bring boating (and boating activities, events, interest, and money) to Providence. Newport is arguably the “sailing capital of the world”, it’s hard to doubt it when you are there on summer nights at places like Clark Cooke House. While Providence is still in the Bay, only 50 minutes away, there is very little marine/nautical culture in the city. We are the Ocean State, and visitors to the city should be able to experience that in our capital.

    With the development of a concert and festival venue at Bold Point Park, and the opportunity of India Point Park clear — I hope that this design features enough slips for visiting watercraft to reach critical mass. A handful of slips will not create a culture of boating in India Point, it has to be on a fairly large scale. Further, the ferry has to be expanded to run year round. RIPTA should explore trying to transfer some passengers from bus to ferry. There could be other water shuttles on the bay to service other communities (shuttle to Bold Point Park for concerts, beach shuttle to State Pier 5 in Narragansett Pier, private service to marinas on the bay such as EG, Oakland Beach, Wickford, Barrington/Warren, etc.) It could become a marine transit center that drives traffic to the park, Central Market and festival grounds. Fisherman could deliver fresh product directly to the market. Fishing charters could leave directly from a population center. Maybe even a Block Island ferry that allows us to skip the drive to Galilee.

    Let’s hope the main pier is a focal point, like So Cal style with great historic looking lighting.

  • This is great news, I always felt Providence Rhode Island needed a better sea front port for visitors and locals to go to and enjoy during the day or at night. I look forward to seeing this blossom into something spectacular for RI.

  • This might be the most obvious development move since removing the highway. Boston which should be and most likely is, the best precedent, had a fantastic water front. Ferry’s, yachts, boating classes, ect all take place right in the harbor. Take advantage of the shore!

  • I’d still love a seasonal mid-way and a year-round ferris wheel along the waterfront the likes of the London Eye, Singapore Flyer or the Chicago Navy Pier Ferris Wheel… OR a carousel like Jane’s Carousel in Brooklyn.

    Oh, and more clam shacks and seafood. We’re the capital of the Ocean State and we have like zero connection to our bay or saltwater-front.


  • I am pushing for the Providence & Newport Ferry to make stops at Prudence & Hog Islands & be part of a ferry service managed by both the Rhode Island Department of Transportation & Public Transit Authority operated by Interstate Navigation call the Narragansett Bay Commuter Ferry.

  • I think a Narragansett Water Shuttle service would make alot of sense if it connected bay communities in the East Bay, Fall River, as well as Wickford, Jamestown, Narragansett.

    Why can’t residents of bay communities come into the capital city for a show, dinner, etc. and not be able to leave their car behind. Water routes are the cheapest option.

  • Along with the Providence-Bay Islands (Prudence & Hog Islands) & Newport Ferry, I will like to see ferry service to Rocky Point-TF Green Airport form either Bristol & Newport via the Bay Islands. This service would be part of the Narragansett Bay Commuter Ferry.

  • Does anyone have any update on the India Point Pier? From what I read, financing would be taken from 2018-2021 budgets, which I would assume means that they should be planning a 2019-20 start date (and a 2021 finish). I have heard nothing, and haven’t seen any renderings.

    This is such a critical project. Has DEM put anything out to bid? Or released a proposal, at all?

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