There are many reasons for municipalities to exist. Chief among those is the municipality’s responsibility to its citizens, like providing necessary infrastructures and services. Such responsibilities are provided through sundry fees and representative taxation, many of which are user-based and provide services that citizens pay for. (Sometimes grudgingly but, more often than not, willingly.)
There are, though, some general common welfare/good-of-the-people costs to municipalities, which are funded only indirectly; such as overall city-beautification and/or citizen-beneficence projects. It is my feeling that the Angle Street “pocket park” falls neatly into these last two categories.
Peggy Sabanskas wrote (News-Times, April 24 edition) that she favors the city of Newport’s legal vacation of Angle Street. Part of her reasoning involves her time on the city council and her fuzzy observations that the “pocket park” never truly existed or, if it did, that it was never properly maintained.
I cannot with clarity state the several years in which Ms. Sabanskas served on the city council, and cannot categorically defend my belief that the pocket park enjoyed many, regular beautification/upkeep projects by assigned city employees during Ms. Sabanskas’ tenure. But I have many memories of seeing then city employee Greg Card happily at work under the clock, picking up trash, pulling weeds and planting flowers, much like today’s city employees do at the base of the airport sign.
Newport should return the Angle Street pocket park to its once and former — and future — glory. It is the one most visible and significant public area along Highway 101. Its gentle statement about how Newport cares for its citizens and visitors will have a more lasting impact than another coffee kiosk.
Additionally, I believe the Angle Street/Highway 101 intersection is already among the city’s worst. Let’s not make it the worst.
Maybe we should remember the clock.