When Newport voters go the polls on November 8th, they will see that they have the option to choose four out of seven candidates (or write-in their own candidate) to fill the four At-Large seats on the Newport City Council. It should be noted that one of those candidates, Kimberly L. Shute, has dropped out of the race.

Jamie Bova, Claude Andrews Lavarre and Henry Winthrop are running against current City Councilors – John Florez, Jeanne Marie Napolitano and Justin McLaughlin. While Lynn Ceglie is running unopposed in Ward 2 and Kate Leonard is running unopposed in Ward 3, those who live in the 1st Ward of Newport will choose between Marco Camacho and Susan Taylor. All seats are for two year terms.

What’sUpNewp posed several questions to the Newport City Council Candidates over the last few days. Below are their responses to the following questions: “If Question #1 is approved on November 8th, what would you like to see done with Newport Grand Property?” and “What would you like to see be done with Naval Hospital Property if the city does in fact acquire it?”

ICYMI: Here’s their responses to the first two questions;

Question 3: If Question #1 is approved on November 8th, what would you like to see done with Newport Grand Property?

Question 4: What would you like to see be done with Naval Hospital Property if the city does in fact acquire it?

City Council At- Large

In order of how they appear on the November 8th Ballot.

Jamie Bova

Question 3: If Question #1 is approved on November 8th, what would you like to see done with Newport Grand Property?

The location of the Newport Grand property makes it a perfect location to help relieve some of the traffic problems we have here in Newport. I would like to that property operate as a welcome center and parking location with access to either light rail or trolleys into downtown Newport, and to serve as one focal point in the North End as the area is developed. The property is large enough that businesses tied to the Innovation Hub and Sheffield School can develop on the location, weaving the area into the fabric of the community.

Question 4: What would you like to see be done with Naval Hospital Property if the city does in fact acquire it?

Part of the Naval Hospital Property must be preserved for public waterfront access and as a park. I would also like a bike path incorporated in this property. I would like to see the remaining property be mixed use – office buildings, restaurants & cafes, and apartments. Having this property be mixed use would make the park more of a destination and prevent the area from simply emptying out as soon as work ended. I do not believe that a hotel belongs on the property or that the property should be developed solely for retail and hospitality usage.

John Florez

Chose not to provide us with responses to any of our questions.

Claude Andrews Lavarre

Question 3: If Question #1 is approved on November 8th, what would you like to see done with Newport Grand Property?

Question 4: What would you like to see be done with Naval Hospital Property if the city does in fact acquire it?

In short, these two questions (and a number of others) need to be addressed in a comprehensive way:
I have built an extensive and comprehensive vision to address these two questions (as well as addressing affordable housing, homelessness, druggie issues, urban renewal, parking, tourist transportation, innovation, and enterprise development) by adressing the North End in a manner similar to that of Crystal City, Tysons Corner, the English Chunnel, Kalakaua Avenue, St. Katherine’s Dock, the Big Dig, and a host of other projects I have *seen* where people built stunning successes out of mounds of trash and mud, because someone had a vision that inspired people to figure out how to make it happen. It happened in all these cases and more, it can happen here. This vision is outlined here:
https://truthcourage.wordpress.com/problems-that-a-council-vision-for-the-north-end-would-solve/
https://truthcourage.wordpress.com/

I believe in this city. I have seen much of the world. I cannot imagine anywhere I’d rather live than here. But we have problems, serious problems, and they won’t go away until we stop being politically correct and start FIXING them. It’s not “not being nice” to point out problems and their solutions. It *is* “not being nice” to ignore problems that offend the Doctrine of Fundamental Fairness.

We all win or we all lose.

Justin McLaughlin

Question 3: If Question #1 is approved on November 8th, what would you like to see done with Newport Grand Property?

Newport Grand: the city should play an active role in influencing the future of this site. Located next to the proposed Innovation Hub, we should work with the current owners to achieve a synergy between what they might plan and what the city is planning. If the property is put up for sale, the city should either buy it directly, to be able to control its development, while not necessarily owning it in perpetuity, or find an investor to buy it whose plans align with what the city would like to see. The city has engaged a firm to assist it in the development of the North End; we need to have that firm include the Newport Grand property in the scope of its support to the city.

Question 4: What would you like to see be done with Naval Hospital Property if the city does in fact acquire it?

The city has been negotiating to acquire this site for many years and 2017 will likely see that effort successfully concluded. Creation of a park along the front of the land is something we have committed to in the past and, regardless of other eventual use of the land, we must do. The city should retain ownership of that park. In order to achieve the maximum benefit of development of the remainder of the site, its development needs to be integrated with what is done in the rest of the North End, including the possible incorporation of the Newport Grand land. But most importantly, development of the Naval Hospital site needs to be done in manner that shows respect for the neighborhood (the Point). The highest economic development benefit must be one that fits, not one that makes the most money without consideration of community concerns. Adaptive reuse of some existing buildings is possible, but if the existing structures are demolished, the city should be open to imaginative development options that will maximize the benefit. Ultimately, any development will be dependent on investor interest. But whatever is done has to have the support of the community. Any decision regarding ownership of the land should be a function of the negotiations with investors.

Jeanne Marie Napolitano

Question 3: If Question #1 is approved on November 8th, what would you like to see done with Newport Grand Property?

Newport Grand property is a large expanse of land located next to the areas we want to develop for future economies. Ideally it would be beneficial if the City were able to purchase the property. Cost, neighborhood, and environmental concerns would need to be publicly addressed.

Question 4: What would you like to see be done with Naval Hospital Property if the city does in fact acquire it?

Again, purchase of the Naval Hospital and future use would be a public process. Council requested public access to the waterfront area of this property in question several years ago, and re-affirmed their desire for this portion of the parcel to remain public access at a recent council meeting.

Kimberly Shute

Reports indicate that she has dropped out of the race.

Henry Winthrop

Chose not to provide us with responses to any of our questions.

Ward 1

Marco Camacho

Question 3: If Question #1 is approved on November 8th, what would you like to see done with Newport Grand Property?

I believe the best and highest use of those lands will be to develop them as part of the Newport Innovation Hub project and add them to the acres of land that will become available once the Pell Bridge ramp realignment is complete. This can include commercial space, a parking and transportation hub, and open green space. Most importantly, what do our citizens want? As with all City projects, there will be a public and transparent vetting process before any actual construction takes place.

Question 4: What would you like to see be done with Naval Hospital Property if the city does in fact acquire it?

Once we officially acquire the Old Navy Hospital, the first thing we will do is begin the public and transparent vetting process. It will include the City, the Navy, the neighborhood, and the developers pitching their ideas. The best and highest use will  ultimately be determined through this process. Recent examples of other projects in Newport that benefitted from our City’s robust public vetting and transparency policies are the Gateway Center and Newport Yachting Center redevelopments. We will do the same with the Navy Hospital property as well.

Susan Taylor

Question 3: If Question #1 is approved on November 8th, what would you like to see done with Newport Grand Property?

Any development of the Newport Grand property, should it become available, should be done in conjunction with the bridge realignment and the innovation hub development. The City should begin with an environmental assessment of the property to determine the feasible and most appropriate uses for the property.  Ideally, the property could host business enterprises and also offer attractive paths for transporting the city’s residents from the North End neighborhoods to the waterfront and downtown.

Question 4: What would you like to see be done with Naval Hospital Property if the city does in fact acquire it?

It is essential that meaningful public access to the waterfront be part of any development.  I would explore whether the option is still available to obtain the property without cost to the city, on the condition that it is maintained as a public park, or open space.  I would further explore the idea of developing a municipal marina at that location.  If done properly it would have the potential to generate revenue for the city, and provide dock space for residents.

Ward 2

Lynn Ceglie.

Question 3: If Question #1 is approved on November 8th, what would you like to see done with Newport Grand Property?

I’d like the Newport Grand property to become a part of the development of the “Innovation” hub that the city is working on.

Question 4: What would you like to see be done with Naval Hospital Property if the city does in fact acquire it?

A part of that beautiful property needs to be dedicated to public access.  I’d like the City to purchase the property and explore the vast opportunities that that property creates.

Ward 3

Kathryn Leonard

Question 3: If Question #1 is approved on November 8th, what would you like to see done with Newport Grand Property?

This is private property. I would like us to work with the successful buyer to integrate the land into our Northend. Plan to improve traffic congestion, bring new jobs, etc. Zoning needs to be looked at again, Maybe a new owner will help with parking.

Question 4: What would you like to see be done with Naval Hospital Property if the city does in fact acquire it?

We need to look at the land as a whole. What do we want to see there besides some public access? Zoning needs to be studied. Maybe some public-private partnerships. Some companies should be wooed to bring more year round stable jobs. This land needs a thorough public vetting process based on the Comprehensive Land Use plan.

The Latest from What's Up Newp

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.