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Newport to Replace Old Brick Streets, Repair Others

A pair of Newport's historic brick streets will be converted to asphalt while another will be shored up and preserved.

The city commission decided on Monday to award a contract to Eaton Asphalt to replace the brick streets on Dayton and John Streets. Southgate Street's bricks will remain, City Manager Tomm Fromme said. "The damage is so substantial, we needed to just go ahead and fix the streets. It's not cost effective trying to restore these streets at this point," Fromme said.

"Most of the bricks are gone," Fromme said of John Street near the Campbell County Fiscal Court building. "Southgate Street is one we're looking at hot and heavy to see what we can do with that street."

"One compromise was preserving (Southgate) Street with brick," City Commissioner John Hayden said.

Commissioner Beth Fennell did support the removal of the bricked streets. "I can't support this," she said. "It's a lovely accent in our community. I drive up John Street every night I leave these meetings. I understand most people's motivation in driving is to get to point to point as quickly as they can. It's sad to see another part of our history go."

The city commission had also voted to reallocate funds previously earmarked to salvage an historic building downtown, the fate of which is now uncertain without the city's plans.

"I understand the beauty of a brick street and we can pull it off on John Street by City Hall but these others are thoroughfare streets," Fromme said. "The traffic volume is significant for that. Southgate is a little bit different. We don't know what the end result will be."
"With the removal of the brick it makes it more viable," Commissioner Thomas Guidugli said. "I'd like to retain all our brick streets but I also know the asset of the brick is limited." The bricks that can be saved from the streets will be collected and stored by the city for use on other bricked streets when repairs are needed.
Guidugli and Hayden were joined by Commissioner Frank Peluso and Mayor Jerry Peluso in approving the contract while Fennell dissented.
Meanwhile, a separate contract was awarded to Paul Michaels & Sons for road resurfacing work on West 8th Street from Bright to Isabella; Isabella from West 6th to West 9th; Patterson from West 6th to West 8th; and Prospect Street from Park Avenue to the dead end of Prospect.
"Next year we're gonna have a lot more streets we'll be doing in the next fiscal year," Fromme said.
Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher of The River City News
Photo: John Street in Newport near Campbell County Building