Preservation Society must do what is right for The Breakers
With its ongoing justification of the proposed visitors center and service of food and beverages, the Preservation Society of Newport County's management has obscured what it is really doing to Newport: ruining the integrity of our best-known historic landmark, The Breakers, while degrading all of our residential neighborhoods for the sake of profit.
Residents should take a walk around and through the property, which is being prepped for construction, and visualize the 3,700-square-foot modern building with service patios that will be plunked down right next to the original gatehouse, destroying paths and landscape designed in the 1890s. The organization that was founded to preserve and protect Newport has reversed its mission in order to compete with local businesses for the tourist and event dollar. For what? To pay large corporate salaries to its senior management. To pay for lawyers, advertising and self-promotion. To run shops jammed with merchandise for tourists. To fill our narrow streets with buses and cars to the point that one can't get around in the summer.
The society has an annual budget of more than $20 million and is subsidized by taxpayers at the local, state and federal levels. It has the economic power to throw its weight around, as even a cursory study of the visitor center process will demonstrate.
Take a deep breath, Newport, and let the Preservation Society leaders know we are not their “company town.” Tell them to relocate a suitable ticket and restroom facility for visitors outside the grounds of The Breakers and to restore the landscape instead. Remind them they are here to serve and preserve Newport. It is not too late; the trustees can still act to do the right thing.
Mary Joan Hoene, Newport Take a deep breath, Newport, and let the Preservation Society leaders know we are not their 'company town.'