National Register Designation to Be Sought for West Side of Newport
The City of Newport got an in-depth glimpse of how grant funds were used to conduct an inventory of historic properties in the West Side.
Historic preservation officer Scott Clark explained that the city received a $20,000 state grant to conduct the research and that an additional $13,000 was estimated to have been contributed through volunteer hours and research.
The grant, acquired a little over a year ago, was to survey the area from 12th Street to York and Columbia Streets, terminating at 8th street around Lowell Street.
1,311 parcels were surveyed including 1,194 structures, 1,062 of which contribute to the historic nature of the area.
119 parcels are currently vacant while 863 are single-family homes or rental properties.
With the survey complete, Clark said the next steps will aim to place the area on the National Register of Historic Places. He said that areas on the Register tend to appreciate more quickly, attracting higher home prices and rents.
It also helps with the acquisition of tax credits when rehabbing an old building.
Clark told the city commission that he was hoping to be awarded a grant worth about $8,000 to $10,000 with a match from the city. Mayor Jerry Peluso noted his appreciation for the work and said that the city was on board with the plan to proceed.
A resident of the neighborhood, Margo Warminski, came to the podium to praise the effort of Clark and his team, and to applaud the goal of placing the area on the National Historic Registry.
Several people came to the meeting to help give thoughts to the commissioners to help in their decision to allow a needle exchange center in the city. Rose Curtain is a foster parent who has seen one of her children fight a heroin addiction, and she wanted the commission to commit to talking about the exchange program.
Simon Powell said he believed research needed to be prioritized.
"The time to act is now, to approve a needle exchange program," he said. "Human lives are not disposable. We have a moral responsibility to at least try to become an example nationally."
"The goal is the reduction of elimination of infectious diseases," Peluso said. "It is on everybody's radar screen. It is a health issue that affects not just Newport, but impacts the entire region."
Barbie Barnes, from Live Well Newport, told a little about the summer programs that the group put on to help people to acquire healthier habits, and Mayor Peluso presented her with the Cannoli Award, and a box of cannolis for their efforts.
Photo: Scott Clark speaks to Newport City Commission (RCN