The City of Newport is negotiating a proposal to sell the 18,000 sq. ft. Armory property located on Newport Harbor with frontage on lower Thames Street, and situated alongside the city-owned Ann Street Pier. It is also the location of the City Maritime Center which opened in 2012 and provides needed services for the many transient boating enthusiasts who visit our city. If this sale is approved, the city will lose one of the most historic structures on Newport Harbor. Newporters will have to deal with another irreversible loss of Historic Thames Street/ Waterfront Property if they allow the City Council to approve the sale of the Armory.

Friends of the waterfront and Newport taxpayers should be concerned with this proposal, as articles in the newspaper have indicated that the new owners intend to use the Ann Street Pier in conjunction with their operations. What effect will this arrangement have on the public’s free access to the waterfront?

The newspaper articles have also indicated that the Mayor is the catalyst of this proposal, having reached out last spring to Gary Jobson, President of the Sailing Hall of Fame, with an invitation to consider the Armory building for a possible move to Newport. Why is the Mayor so willing to part with a Newport treasure?

This proposed sale is clearly not in the best interest of the City of Newport or its taxpayers, and will result in the loss of one of the last remaining waterfront buildings owned by the city. Newporters should be given an opportunity to say whether or not this important piece of our waterfront should be offered up for sale. I urge Newport residents to voice their position to the members of the City Council before this ill-conceived idea becomes a reality.

Frederick Biastre | Newport, RI

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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 -

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In 2020, Belmore was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.
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