2015-09-03 / Opinion

Doomed to Repeat History?

To the Editor:

How quickly we forget.

On Wednesday, Aug. 26, the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the Newport City Council voted to make application for federal funds to renovate the Gateway Center. Newport has committed to roughly $600,000 of a $6,000,000 project. Is it a good idea? The City of New Orleans failed to make adequate evacuation plans for people who do not own cars. Now, Newport will invest in a transportation center that is located in the flood plain. Where will the bus riders go when the center is under water? Is Newport doomed to repeat the mistakes of Katrina, using Hurricane Sandy money?

An immediate decision was demanded of the council by the Gateway applicants, effectively eliminating any opportunity for the residents of Newport to weigh in on intent. The process was hurried and flawed, with very little local input. No doubt a revived reception space for Newport visitors is overdue, but to what extent and at what cost? The redesign shows little concern for Newport’s citizens, nor its physical context. We should take the time to do this right, with public consent and with our cherished beautiful world class city in the fore.

Steven Irvine
Newport

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