opinion Newport Rhode Island

By Beth Cullen, Newport 

Do you value the scenic charm of Newport’s historic waterfront vistas? Do you take pride in the eclectic balance of architectural styles and organically blended streetscapes? Is our heritage worth protecting for future generations? 

Do you value safe drinking water and clean air? Do you want to do everything in your power to safeguard our community’s health and wellbeing? Then stand up and show up (via Zoom) Monday, 1 March, 6:30 pm, as Waites Wharf’s future is decided. Take a moment to examine the list of reports and exhibits offered to make way for a 150 room hotel. Agenda: http://bit.ly/NewportWaitesWharfDemolition1 

Be a witness as our city’s charm and character are placed on the chopping block. 

Right before our eyes, Newport is being sold to the highest bidders. Bales of cash have been dumped into elected officials’ campaign coffers by the developers with the means to hire their lawyers and expert witnesses. Opaque zoning ordinances are being massaged, all to delight the appetites of real estate moguls writing checks while drooling over our city’s delicious (and profitable) potential! 

Did you know that in 2008, the entire area from Memorial Boulevard to Morton Avenue was designated as a registered historic district by the State’s Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission and by the National Park Service? Did you know that our city leaders chose to ignore that designation? It is all there for you to see in Exhibit “E” — if you care to look.

Be there, be prepared. Listen to well-paid legal, environmental, and architectural consultants do an about-face on their previous “expert” acknowledgments. Watch the faces on the screen tell us that digging up contaminated dirt left behind from over a century of industrial waste — with over 15 cancer-causing chemicals found in tested soil samples — is perfectly harmless! No need for concern. Really?! Many would disagree. Do you? 

See Exhibit 16, craftily written by the applicant’s hired expert, former RIDEM attorney, Marisa Desautel. In her letter, she claims, “…all activity on the Site, including demolition…are not detrimental to public health, safety, and the environment.” Feel better now? If not, take part and tune-in Monday night! 

Beth Cullen, Newport