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County Counsel Wayne Belmont delivers good news to the City of Newport when he affirms that the county and the Fair Board do not need the city’s $3 million urban renewal money for their fairgrounds plans. This allows the city to consider applying those funds to far higher priorities.
Think about quality of life. Increasing traffic and tourism to the proposed Commons would decrease the quality of life in Newport. Applying the $3 million to projects that would relieve traffic congestion, improve storm drainage, upgrade failing sewage systems, or encourage affordable housing would enhance our quality of life.
Since Mr. Belmont doesn’t need the city funds and since his Commons proposal’s own consultants have always said it would lose money (between $500,000 up to a million dollars a year), why would the city invest any of its scarce funds in that project?
Monday’s City Council meeting on the matter might make the question irrelevant. If not, one hopes the Council will explain why the Commons could add more to our quality of life than, say, preventing city sewage and runoff from undermining businesses and making beaches toxic.