Businesses, boaters want new Galilee boat ramp opened

Fishermen and boaters are eager for the new Galilee boat ramp project to be completed.

The reconstruction of the Galilee Boat Ramp in Narragansett started in January with a June 7 deadline, almost two weeks after Memorial Day.

But at Galilee Bait and Tackle, with the charter, sport and commercial fishing season ramping up, it's not happening fast enough.

"It affects my shop. It affects all the restaurants. It affects all the coffee shops, all the gas stations," said Howard Reed of Galilee Bait and Tackle.

There are alternative sites, but they're not as big or as convenient.

"There's a ramp on the north end of the pond, but it's about a 40-minute trip down here by boat," Reed said.

About half of the ramp's sections are in place, but the rest are sitting on pallets.

"I can't tell a contractor how to perform his own business to ultimately satisfy his contracts. He has been working on this project offsite, basically building some of the components, the floating dock structures, the courtesy structures. So he has been (at the site) even though people may not have seen him," said Larry Mourdajian of the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management.

However, Reed said every dollar matters.

"Every fish matters, every sale matters, everything," he said.

DEM said it has negotiated with the contractor to open one of the two new ramps by Memorial Day. According to DEM, once the entire project has been completed, it will nearly double the accessibility and capacity.

The ramp, which was designed by DEM, cost more than $600,000, and was paid for by U.S. Fish and Wildlife and salt water fishing licensing fees.