2016-06-16 / Opinion

EDITORIAL

On Projects, Plans and Patience

Patience, as they say, is a virtue.

And nowhere is it more important to hold that thought than right here in Newport. As you’ll see from the information that appears below, the city has numerous plans and projects underway that, sooner or later, have the potential to dramatically transform portions of our city.

Of course, that does not satisfy those who for one reason or another are unhappy with some aspect of one project or another. Still, each of these efforts has been the subject of multiple forums designed to solicit public input and answer residents’ questions. No one should complain that they’ve been denied the chance to be informed about these efforts.

If some local residents have been caught off guard by any of these plans or projects, they have only themselves to blame. While the Broadway Streetscape is an example of a major project nearing completion, others–such as the lower Thames Street/Spring Street effort–have long paths to tread before they ever materialize.

Just remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Newport and its ambitious ongoing projects, appropriately informed by long-term planning, likewise won't be re-made overnight. As the Bible intones: Good things come to those who wait.

Here, then, is a capsule look at the status of local plans and projects:

Strategic Plan: This document will look at how to allocate Newport’s personnel and resources for the next five years. Officials hope the plan will be ready later this year.

Comprehensive Plan: This document involves land use and the city's long-term physical development. The original finish date was set for June 1, 2016. That has been delayed to the fall.

Broadway Streetscape: Target date for finishing major work on sidewalks and parking areas is now July 4, 2016. Finishing touches will take a little longer.

Thames/Spring Streetscape: After a third public workshop in late May, Newport’s consultant, Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, is developing a long-term vision for Thames and Spring. The target date for completion of that work and laying out the project’s next steps is this fall. These are preliminary planning stages, with funding yet to be secured.  

Open Space Master Plan: The plan, concerning trees, parks and open spaces, is to be finished by consultants Sasaki Associates by midsummer. The committee overseeing the effort will then seek the City Council’s approval. Costs so far have been borne by private foundation grants but the city may include $25,000 in the new budget to finish the work. After that, the next step will be to determine how to accomplish the plan’s identified long-term projects.

Newport’s Original Spring Restoration: This is a private effort now on hold awaiting completion of the Open Space Master Plan.

North End Innovation Hub/Pell Bridge Realignment: This project will be ongoing for the foreseeable future as an Infralinx Capitalled consortium provides the city with strategic advice on development possibilities. The city has provided $500,000 in seed money for this endeavor.

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