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The City of Newport has received a $14,800 Centennial Grant to create mobile, solar-powered recreational spaces where people can recharge devices such as laptops and cell phones.

Supported by partnership of public, private and nonprofit entities, including the Newport Tree Society, the “Plug Park” will be built in such a way that it can easily be moved from site to site within the city. Locations for the “Plug Parks” have not yet been determined.

“The digital era has redefined the meaning of community. This will build on Newport’s strength of place by bridging physical and virtual communities,” said William R. Riccio Jr., director of Newport’s Public Services. “Communities often engage in difficult conversations. Change can be “The Plug Park will provide Newport with an opportunity to try out the future in an active, participatory and dynamic way.”

“The Plug Park will serve residents and visitors alike, especially when during the peak tourism months. It will provide shelter from the sun, a place to relax and a place to plug in a laptop or phone. At the same time it will activate a sidewalk or parking space and transform the physical environment into an animated, populated, temporary public work of art,” he said.

This story may be updated as more information is received.

Ryan Belmore is the Publisher of What'sUpNewp. 
Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Belmore graduated from Coventry High School and the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition to living in Newport for 10 years, he has lived in Portsmouth, Coventry, Providence, Smithfield, Burrillville, and East Greenwich.

Belmore currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the Board of Lucy's Hearth and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

Belmore and his wife, Jen, currently live in Alexandria, Virginia, a move they made in 2021. Read more about that here -

Belmore visits Newport every couple of weeks to support the 12+ paid contributors What'sUpNewp has on the ground across Rhode Island, a place he called home for 39 years.

Belmore is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.

In 2020, Belmore was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.
Belmore can be contacted at and 401-662-1653.