RETAINING HISTORIC INTEGRITY IN BELLEVUE-OCHRE POINT
The Preservation Society of Newport County intends to build a visitors center on the grounds of the Breakers to replace their sales tent. This Welcome Center would be large, at 3700 square feet, and would require screening vegetation to hide the buildings from view. Completing this project would constitute a significant alteration of the landscape of the Breakers. After much study, the Bellevue Ochre Point Neighborhood Association Board believes this proposed project must be halted, for a combination of reasons.
The Breakers is an iconic property symbolizing the Gilded Age in America. It is easily the most famous historic property in Newport and all of Rhode Island. It is a National Historic Landmark. As commissioned by the Vanderbilt family in the 1890’s, it consisted of the mansion itself and also extraordinary landscaping. This included winding paths, complex hedges and massive flower beds, as well as specimen trees. Many of the trees remain, while other original features have been allowed to deteriorate over time. This landscape was integral to the originators' vision, and was cited as such in the National Historic Landmark nomination. It is now put at risk of permanent disruption by the proposed Welcome Center.
After our own inquiries left us convinced that the City's repairs program (around $1 Million since 2007) was faulty, we engaged DiPrete Engineering to investigate the repairs. We assisted their efforts to get specification information through a Freedom Of Information Act request. Our engineers determined that the City's contractor had used some inappropriate materials and hadn't installed full expansion joints - thus creating the opportunity for failure of repairs. We have shared the detailed Engineering report with City officials. With the benefit of this specific knowledge about what was done wrong, the City has initiated a new repair program for correct repairs to Bellevue Avenue.
Since 2004, The Narragansett Bay Coyote Study (NBCS) has been developing science-based coexistence and management strategies for the region's newest top predator.In partnership with The Conservation Agency, we are currently exploring the research and monitoring of the coyote population on Aquidneck Island.