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Chafee: RI to help lure America's Cup events

January 15, 2011

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NEWPORT, R.I.—Gov. Lincoln Chafee says the state will help pay for infrastructure improvements needed so Newport can host sailing races that lead up to the America's Cup finals.

The "pre-regattas" are planned for Newport and locations around the world before the final races in 2013 in San Francisco.

In Newport, Oracle Racing is planning races in the east passage of Narragansett Bay this year between Sept. 17-25. On Friday, Chafee toured Fort Adams State Park and told The Newport Daily News, the state "will do our part" to pay for upgrades needed to host the races there.

"I'm big on creating infrastructure," he said. "It's the role of government."

Chafee said improvements at Fort Adams would pay for themselves by making future events possible there, and also by giving the park more visibility.

"Everyone who comes to Fort Adams, Rhode Island residents and those from outside the state, says how beautiful it is," the governor said. "Anything that can open up this historic asset to more people is a big plus."

Among the improvements needed: new docks along the waterfront, two cranes to hoist the catamarans in and out of the water, a barge for additional docking space and a long pier to protect the docking areas.

State funding is available for capital improvements to state parks, and the Department of Environmental Management has money to repave roads in state parks, said Paul Harden, the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation's manager of business and workforce development.

He said Oracle and racing organizers will pay for items such as the cranes.

"We think some federal funding also may be available," Harden said.

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Information from: The Newport Daily News