With conceptual drawings and engineering plans nearing competition, the administration is moving ahead with advertising for the naming rights of Mayor Frank Picozzi’s dream for a City Hall …
With conceptual drawings and engineering plans nearing competition, the administration is moving ahead with advertising for the naming rights of Mayor Frank Picozzi’s dream for a City Hall Plaza with an outdoor skating rink.
The request for proposals that extol the virtues of Warwick was posted Thursday on the city website. The minimum acceptable bid is $50,000 a year for five years. In addition to the name and signage, whoever is awarded the contract would get 200 ice skating tickets a year, reduced rink rentals, 100 summer activity admission tickets a year, exclusive use of the facility for one day in the winter as well as three reserved corporate sponsor parking spaces on site during such events as concerts, food truck/marketplace events and festivals.
The bid package, that includes architectural renderings of the plaza and rink, outlines changes to Apponaug Village saying it “has undergone a remarkable transformation in recent years.” Cited is the Apponaug Circulator project that has made the area more pedestrian friendly, new restaurants, retail and service businesses, building improvements and conversion of the former Apponaug Mill Sawtooth building, owned by AAA Northeast, as the City Hall Annex.
“The City Hall Plaza will only further these revitalization efforts while filling a stated need for a vibrant engaging recreational /cultural/community space in this area of the city that will, like Warwick’s other events, attract thousands of people to the area annually,” it says in the bidding proposal documents.
Mayor Picozzi proposed an outdoor skating rink behind City Hall soon after winning election. At the time, the City Hall Annex that first served as headquarters for police and fire and was later converted into city offices sat empty having been abruptly closed during a January 2018 deep freeze causing second story hot water pipes to burst and flooding the first floor tax assessor’s office. Most municipal offices were hastily relocated to the largely vacant Greene School.
Demolition was in the future of the annex, but a settlement over insurance stalled action. Picozzi accepted the terms offered by the RI Interlocal Risk Management Trust on condition that it covers demolition costs exceeding the settlement. The building came down.
Then there is the matter of funding the development. The mayor has budgeted $8.2 million for City Hall Plaza. In May 2022 the city received a $5 million earmark grant from Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse for the plaza project. Additional funding is to come from the $37 million the city received in American Rescue Plan Act funding in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Asked who he would like to see win the naming rights, Picozzi said he hoped it would be a company with strong local connections. He didn’t offer any suggestions.
Sealed bids for the naming rights must be submitted to the city’s purchasing division no later than 11 a.m. on Sept. 28.
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