BankNewport today announced that it has made a $100,000 charitable contribution to the Newport Historic Spring to “advance the effort to install a public park on the site of the original town spring and the birthplace of Newport”.

This represents the largest corporate contribution to the project to transform the former Coffey’s gas station into a park that pays tribute to the values of religious freedom and tolerance, the founding principles of Newport as the first secular government in the colonial period of the United States, according to a joint press release from Newport Historic Spring and Bank Newport.

“We are incredibly grateful to BankNewport for making this strong commitment to the Newport Historic Spring, to the city and every resident and visitor,” stated Lilly Dick, chair of the Newport Spring Leadership Committee, the volunteer group working with Church Community Housing Corporation to realize the vision for the park. “This important site remains threatened by inappropriate commercial development until this park is installed, conveyed to the City of Newport, and protected as open space with a conservation easement. BankNewport is an amazing steward of Newport history and the quality of life in our community, they’ve demonstrated this once again.”

“In our more than 200-year history, we have been committed to supporting the communities we serve, and we are honored to be part of this incredibly important and historic project,” said Jack Murphy, President & CEO, BankNewport.  “The Newport Spring park will not only enhance the city for residents and visitors, but it will serve as a lasting tribute to Newport’s founding.”

After years of careful planning, site remediation, the discovery and study of the 18th-Century spring box, and extensive input by the City of Newport and the public, Newport Historic Spring says that the vision for this park will become a reality once this $3.5 million phase two is fully funded. A total of $2.7 million has now been raised and the leaders hope to raise the final funding by September 2022 to break ground and begin construction.

To learn more about the Newport Historic Spring, visit

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.