NARRAGANSETT – The Narragansett Town Council discussed Monday how to best manage and earn revenue from the Middlebridge property the town purchased in August 2012.
The town paid nearly $1.5 million for the 9.5-acre property, which includes multiple structures, and is located at 94 and 95 Middlebridge Road.
The site was home to Narrow River Kayaks and Logan’s Landing Restaurant, and is still home to a 37-slip marina and several rental properties, which provide income for the town.
Narrow River Kayaks paid rent to the town last summer to utilize the property for its paddle sports business, but in August 2013, the town council put out a request for bids to run a paddle sports business at the site.
The town received bids from Narrow River Kayaks and the Kayak Centre of Rhode Island and that same month voted 3-1 to reject the Kayak Centre’s bid, in favor of Narrow River Kayaks.
In a lawsuit filed in Washington County Superior Court last month, the Kayak Centre is now suing the town of Narragansett, the town’s finance director, the town council, and Narrow River Kayaks.
The Kayak Centre is claiming that the business was unlawfully deprived a contract to operate a paddle sports concession at the town-owned Middlebridge property.
With the paddle sports business tied up in court litigation, Town Manager Pamela Nolan said the town stands to lose about $10,000 in rent payments this year. She also pointed out that if the bid for the paddle sports business was awarded to the Kayak Centre, the business would have paid the town $80,000 over the next five years.
She said the town still expects to take in approximately $24,000 in revenue from the marina at the property, but according to Finance Director Donald Goodrich, the town will have to transfer approximately $132,000 from the general fund in 2014 to finance the Middlebridge enterprise fund.
Nolan said she expects the contribution from the town’s general fund to increase to $150,000 in 2015.
“What I think is important for you is to consider the overall big picture concept of where this council wants to go with this piece of property,” she said. “Whether you want to preserve this piece of property or see some commercial activity with the marina and the restaurant. The paddle board operation is unfortunately tied up in court and will probably be tied up in court for a little while.”