U.S. Senator Jack Reed toured lower Broadway in Newport on Tuesday morning with local merchants, community leaders, and officials from the Newport County Chamber of Commerce. The purpose of the tour was to discuss the progress being made in revitalizing Broadway and making streetscape enhancements and public infrastructure upgrades to help the area reach its full economic potential.
“The pulse of Broadway is beating stronger,” said Reed. “There is real momentum taking place in this neighborhood right now, with a lot of new businesses opening up and renovations taking place to existing shops, bars, and restaurants. There has been significant public and private investment in the enhancement of this part of town, which will help boost the local economy and hopefully spur additional economic redevelopment and investment.”
“Broadway is a main artery into Newport,” said Jody Sullivan, Executive Director of the Newport County Chamber of Commerce. “The momentum and investment created by young entrepreneurs has created a dynamic neighborhood that has become a powerful economic engine for our community, created hundreds of jobs and revenue for the City of Newport and for Rhode Island. It is a successful model of a Main Street revitalization effort.”
“As we make final preparations and eagerly await the groundbreaking of these infrastructure improvements, we look forward to the possibility of what lies ahead as we create a place within our community that will enhance the livability, vitality, and sustainability of this great neighborhood,” said William Riccio, Director of Public Services for City of Newport.
One of Newport’s most heavily trafficked corridors, the City and business leaders embarked on the Broadway Streetscape Improvement Plan to make the area more pedestrian friendly and accessible to residents and tourists. The project will include improvements to the roadway, widening of sidewalks, landscaping, and more decorative lighting, as well as upgrades to water lines, sewer lines, and storm water treatment. This project will be funded by Newport, with contributions from several different sources of federal funding, including Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), Safe Routes to School grants, and U.S. Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration funds, with a twenty percent match from RIDOT for federal transportation dollars.
The tour kicked off at The Fifth Element and included stops at Salvation Cafe, Bistro 160, Malt, Family Dentistry, Pour Judgment Bar & Grill, Mad Hatter Bakery, and Sunnyside Deli. Senator Reed also visited the Opera House Theater on Washington Square and the Jane Pickens Theater to get an update on renovations and repairs and the work of the Washington Square Roots community organization.