2014-10-23 / Opinion

Filling the Gap

To the Editor:

In response to a letter that appeared in the Oct. 16 edition of Newport This Week from Paul O’Reilly, CEO of Newport Harbor Corp., soonto be former owners of the Newport Yachting Center: We’ve known for quite a while that Mr. O’Reilly has been an opponent of the Newport Entertainment Center proposal. Until now, however, we did not realize that he is more concerned with launching misguided political attacks than doing what really matters — saving the jobs of his employees and preserving millions in economic activity for the citizens of Newport.

It is disappointing that he would rally against a proposal that is projected to bring 350 permanent jobs to Newport when more than 50 people displaced by the sale of the Newport Yachting Center search for work — while he realizes millions from the recent sale.

Due to the questions that remain about the sale, it is yet to be seen exactly what impact the loss of the facility will have on the City of Newport. For instance, we do not yet have a complete list of the partners and financiers for the purchase of this important downtown property. Will they be responsible neighbors? Will they replace a beloved venue with shops, restaurants, hotels — or even time shares — that will impact the existing businesses with deep roots in Newport? The only things we do know are that the Yachting Center’s former employees are out of a job and popular events that draw crowds to Newport are in need of a new venue.

If voters approve Questions 1 and 2 in November, the Newport Entertainment Center will be able to help fill the gaps that have been left behind by the Yachting Center’s sale.

The proposed Newport Entertainment Center, with a world-class performance venue seating thousands, is a natural fit for the programming and employees displaced by the sale of the Newport Yachting Center. We hope to welcome them to our new entertainment center very soon, with the permission of the residents of Newport on Nov. 4.

Joe Paolino

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