The consultant groups the city of Newport is working with to create the downtown streetscape and wayfinding signage plans presented a report on their recommendations during a Thursday afternoon public input session.

Newport Community Development Director Gary Carver said the study by the CRJA-IBI Group and Vaughn and Melton Architects was funded with several grants. He said the project should help Partnership President Lucas Graham in his efforts to move the community forward.

“If we can get a little bit of support behind this streetscape plan and what downtown Newport can look like, it will be a game changer for us. It will help him in his efforts to get investment dollars downtown.”

Cliff Brooks of the CRJA-IBI Group presented options for a “wayfinding” plan for signage at the primary entrance gateways, and then smaller signage for other primary destinations around the city.

“The aim is to generate traffic for downtown and then keep it here. The downtown has an identity with its railroad depot, courthouse, Fruit Jar Alley and other historic buildings,” Brooks said. “People look for that authentic experience, and you have it right here in Newport.”

Also included in the proposal are wider sidewalks, street trees and parallel parking on Main Street.

“There’s a lot of downtown parking but it takes up a lot of the width of the street. We are proposing two parallel parking spaces between each tree along the street and with a wider sidewalk. That would also make the cross-streets more inviting and walkable.”

Collins suggested the move likely would entice individuals to invest in the downtown area.

“They would see these nice wider sidewalks and the street trees, and will be willing to invest their private dollars in downtown improvements.”