Newport Grand, Cliff The Coyote, Panhandlers, the Newport Yachting Center and the Newport Skating Center all have one thing in common – they all are very controversial and attract a lot of attention, or page views in some cases.

Unfortunately one local publication used one of those “hot local topics” to what they thought was their advantage today when they irresponsibly said “The “Scott’s Wharf Conceptual Master Plan,” which was presented Thursday night, includes a “micro-hotel” with more than 70 rooms, but also will signal the end of the Newport Skating Center.”

Telling only half the story is not only irresponsible reporting, but it’s also embarrassing that they would use these tactics to enrage the community on a non-issue. Click bait, an example of why not to believe everything you read online or in the paper or just another reason why you should be at these meetings, we’ll let you decide.

On Thursday night at the annual meeting of ‘Friends of the Waterfront,’ Sam Bradner and Colin Kane from the Peregrine Group shared their ‘Conceptual Master Plan’ for the downtown Newport Yachting Center property. This event allowed intrigued members of the community to attend a public forum and learn more about recent developments or proposed plans along Newport’s wharves.

A question was asked after the forum about the rink seeing that it was scheduled to return this winter. Kane responded to an audience member that “it would probably not return after this year.” Bradner explained that they would review further and have to look at the plans to see if they could fit it somewhere else on the property. Kane continued, suggesting that “folks should realize how big that rink is and how much it costs to run it. Michele Palmieri (President of Newport Skating Center) and her team are great to work with, they’ve been great. It’s our hope that if we start construction or if our final master plans show that we can’t host the skating rink that Michele and the public and the city can work together to keep the skating rink in Downtown Newport, they have our support.” Although it may not be continued on the same piece of property, it does not confirm that it is now extinct.

Unfortunately all that appeared in this local publication regarding the Skating Center was “The plan would eliminate the Newport Skating Center” in paragraph 15 of the story, on a social media posting on Friday that publication decided to use a photo of the skating rink. The 70+ room hotel, 50,000 square foot building, new restaurant or other plans for the property all could have been the highlight of the story and photo.

The Newport Skating Center is expected to return for the 2017/2017 winter, the official grand opening and Tree Lighting event is set for Friday, December 9th.

On Friday morning we called Michele Maker Palmieri (President and CEO of Waterfront Productions), the fact that the Skating Center and its future was talked about at the meeting didn’t completely surprise her.

“Should the Newport Yachting Center and Scott’s Wharf development plans move forward (and there’s not a viable option for the skating center on the property), Newport Waterfront Events plans to work with the public and City to find the Newport Skating Center a new home in Newport,” Palmieri told What’sUpNewp on Friday morning.

“Newport Waterfront Events, owners of the Newport Skating Center, plan to work with the public and the City to find the Newport Skating Center a new home in Newport after this year should the Scott’s Wharf/Newport Yachting Center development move forward.  We are so grateful to the Peregrine Group for donating the property last year and again this year.  We knew we would need a “Plan B” when development started and we will be looking at viable options. We are excited that the Newport Skating Center will re-open this winter and hope to see everyone out on the ice!  The official grand opening and Tree Lighting event is set for Friday, December 9th. Get updates at newportskatingcenter.com and follow us at NewportSkating on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.” Palmieri shared with us via e-mail and asked us to share with the public on Friday evening.

So while others call for the funeral of the Newport Skating Center (without picking up the phone to ask what the future is), know that the rink will reappear this winter and for many more winters – if Newport Waterfront Event has anything to do with it.

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Ryan M. Belmore

Ryan M. Belmore is the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp. Ryan is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers. Send questions, tips, and story ideas to Ryan@whatsupnewp.com.