Wednesday, February 19, 2014

And so it Begins: Lots'a Dust Coming to Newport City

Colorful posters in the boarded up buildings promise a new beginning

Soon to disappear: A part of the Spates block

Work started on Main street

By Manfried Rieder Starhemberg

Last summer, the publisher of this paper, Ken Wells,  wrote an enthusiastic front-page story which was titled; "The Future is Now", in which he summarized the vision of local developers Stenger and Quiros for the Renaissance Block downtown Newport City and the proposed waterfront development on the east side where they envision a huge hotel and marina complex compete with convention center and new restaurants..
Well, the future has begun but unfortunately, before the lights come on in the future Utopia, the walls are tumbeling down and it has begun with the reconstruction of the former "One Stop" gas station and convenience store on Main street. This building will house a new Maplefield gas and convenience business and restaurant but for the next few months its dust and noise but the locals do not seem to mind as much as the fact that now there are only two places left for a quick beer or cigarette or snack purchase, Little G's and Jimmy Kwiks.
But the big problem will come when the Spates block will be demolished this year. It encompasses almost a quarter of the downtown core and while many, from the mayor on down point out that it has been run down, business has not thrived and change is needed, is is nevertheless sad to see the colorful old buildings disappear forever to be replaces by chrome and glass. Sadly, the mayor is right - Newport must create an improved tax infrastructure and re-invent itself if it wants to get out of the stangant status-quo it has been in for a couple of decades. While it is romantic to dwell about what is about to be lost, more future minded citizens point out the old homily" The Dog is Dead". Well, may the old downtown rest in piece and let us hope that Ken Wells' prediction of the future will bear fruit. For now however, start hording dust masks and be prepared to wash your car a lot.

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