Newport Gateway Center to get facelift

NEWPORT, R.I. — A plan to give the Gateway Center on America’s Cup Avenue a new look was unveiled to the public on Wednesday by Evan Smith, the president and CEO of Discover Newport, the regional visitors and convention bureau.

He described the plan as practical, affordable and actionable. The building and the 8-acre site are owned by the city of Newport. In 1988, the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority signed a 99-year lease to use part of the site as a bus terminal, so both parties would have to support the redesign.

Smith said he was encouraged after meeting with City Manager Jane Howington Wednesday morning and with Mark Therrien, RIPTA’s assistant general manager, in the afternoon.

“We want to inspire our partners, realizing we are the tenants,” Smith said. “We are open to the ideas and creativeness of the city and RIPTA if they want to change this redevelopment plan.”

Some of the white canvas canopies over the Gateway Center’s walkways were torn up by superstorm Sandy last October and have been removed. Therrien said he would see if federal disaster money is available for the damages.

Howington said the city has been in contact with the Federal Emergency Management Agency about receiving funding for repairs.

Architect Ross Cann of A4 Architecture, in consultation with Discover Newport staff, developed the modest redesign plan, Smith said. It calls for about 50 percent of the blue steel girders that held up the white canopies to be removed. The outside bank of girders and canopies along America’s Cup Avenue would be removed and replaced by trees.

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