NEWPORT – In an announcement dropped between Thanksgiving and Christmas, when Vermonters are paying the most attention to the news, Governor Scott spoke today about a broad initiative to get rid of two of Vermont’s most pernicious problems.
Located right in the center of downtown Newport, the Hole is a city block that used to house businesses and housing. Now a gaping crater, it is pockmarked by debris and surrounded by a chain link fence. However, Vermont state government has a plan to turn the Hole from a symbol of corruption and scandal into a true demonstration of Yankee thrift.
“The Hole in Newport is just one of the many, many outcomes of the EB-5 visa program. In the spirit of continuing the Northeast Kingdom’s long history as a valuable partner in waste management, the Hole will provide us with a cost-effective solution for two of our major problems, ticks and state debt,” he said. Gov. Scott went on to explain how the Agency of Natural Resources, Department of Finance and Management, and Department of Taxes will be shipping both ticks and debt up to Newport.
Main Street business owner Jerry Piette had other ideas, however. “What does that mean, that they’ll put the debt in the Hole? It’s a negative asset, so it isn’t even a physical object. This doesn’t make any sense.”
Another local, who preferred to remain anonymous, was on the same page as Mr. Piette. “Is this debt going to make the Hole bigger? It covers a lot of downtown as is, even though the colorful plastic woven through the chain link fence has grown on me. It if gets any bigger, it’ll take out the Juul store and the tattoo parlor.”
No one this reporter talked to was worried about ticks, however. Between the mega-Walmart and the prison, there is not only access to plenty of bug spray but also a place to hide. When asked why opioids, another major issue in the state, weren’t included in the initiative, Scott noted that the fence was not robust enough to keep locals out of the Hole.
Image Credits: Caledonian Record.