Newport residents were expecting a “game changer.”
Instead, they have a chasm in the heart of this Northeast Kingdom city’s downtown, a visible reminder of dashed hopes for a project that turned out to be too good to be true.
A year after state and federal investor fraud lawsuits were leveled against developers Ariel Quirosand Bill Stenger, a chain link fence surrounds a series of concrete foundations left over from razed buildings that made up the former Spates Block.
The barrier is decorated with colorful artwork resembling murals, though these are made of fabric intertwined in the links of the fence. The bright images provide pops of color that help shield the remains of a dark chapter in the city’s history.
Downtown business owners talk of the disappointment and heartache they felt when they learned one year ago that massive development projects Quiros and Stenger had planned for Newport would likely never happen, including the one on Main Street.
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