City Nixes 2nd Street Block Party but Offers Compromise

NEWPORT CITY – Anthony Rodriguez from TNT Explosive Tattoo went to the city council Monday to ask permission to close Second Street for a block party and open house.But he first had to answer specific questions about his business practices. Even at the end, Rodriguez didn't get his way.Rodriguez wanted to hold the party Saturday, July 14 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. He told the council there are a lot of children who live on the block and he wanted to show the public his business. He said he wants customers to feel comfortable in his shop."I'm a little concerned about the possibility of the spreading of disease in some form or another," said council member Richard Baraw, who asked if Rodriguez's sterilization processes were in compliance with state requirements.Rodriguez said they are and that the state inspects his shop every year; inspectors can came in anytime and he does monthly spore testing. Baraw seemed satisfied with the responses.Mayor Paul Monette expressed concerns that Rodriguez would be promoting tattoos to minors. However, Rodriguez said that wasn’t the purpose of the block party and that he offers other services aside from tattooing. The council has not generally closed a street to promote one business, Monette said. Newport City Police Chief J. Paul Duquette, who attended the council meeting, said he had concerns about the request. When the city closes the street, the recreation department is responsible for moving barricades for emergencies, he said.The council and City Manager John Ward Jr. reminded Rodriguez he would need a million dollar insurance policy, but Rodriguez assured the council that wouldn’t be a problem and his shop already has a two million dollar insurance policy. However, council members told Rodriguez he would need a separate policy for the event.Rodriguez said he would serve Caribbean and Spanish food at the block party and that family members would be coming to Newport from Connecticut and New York City to cook. The event would more than a business promotion, Rodriguez said. “It’s to bring people into the neighborhood,” he said. “There’s really nothing on Main Street that’s attracting attention.”Rodriguez would not need a permit to promote the neighborhood, Ward said. Baraw still expressed concerns about approving a request to close a city street for one business. “We could get into another mess by doing that,” he said. “I can understand closing down the street for Aquafest and the antique automobile show."Rodriguez, who said he understands the concerns, asked if he could have the block party sometime during the Aquafest that runs from Wednesday, July 4, to Sunday, July 8.Recreation Director Andy Cappello offered to give Rodriguez a booth on the corner of Main Street and Second Street. He called the block party idea a good event, but it should go through the recreation department. Cappello recommended Rodriguez create a proposal for the city.De le Bruere and Monette liked Cappello's idea.“I think our businesses add as much to the city as an antique car show,” said de le Bruere. “We’re trying to get people down and show what stores are here.” Rodriguez said he’d have an open house even if he doesn’t have the okay for the block party. He said he’s a DJ from New York City and has loud music.That’s a different issue, said Ward, who reminded Rodriguez the city has a noise ordinance that would be enforced unless the city issues a waiver.Rodriguez asked how to get a waiver, but de le Bruere suggested Rodriguez start by talking with Cappello.“I think everyone at this table wants to make this work,” said de le Bruere. “There’s going to be music during the Aquafest so it sounds like the perfect idea.”Having a booth on Main Street won’t help him and some people fear Second Street because of a so-called ghetto, Rodriguez said. “That’s nothing to me,” said Rodriguez of Second Street. “I was born and raised in The Projects.”