NEWPORT — On Tuesday, a group calling itself FIGHT BACK 05855, submitted a petition opposing the recently passed ATV ordinance that would allow ATV’s on select routes in Newport City from mid-May until October.
As per state guidelines regarding municipal ordinances, the city must hold a public vote within 60 days after a valid petition is submitted.
Newport City resident Amy Gillespie, the chief organizer of the group, says the petition is a way to allow the community to have a say, whether the ATV ordinance gets voted in or voted down.
“The media has misrepresented us as anti-ATV fun-haters, and that just isn’t valid,” Gillespie said. “I’m personally just really hoping that everyone can work together eventually to create a safer plan for us all.”
The group says the petition signatures were gathered by dedicated people with varying backgrounds, concerns, and beliefs.
They worked together canvassing neighborhoods, collecting signatures at the recycling center, craft fairs, and on social media.
Gillespie says she believes the community wasn’t included in the real discussion and planning process for the ATV routes, nor was the city council.
“They refused to consider any suggestions made by city residents and dismissed safety concerns,” Gillespie said. “According to Borderline Ridge Riders Facebook group, they started discussions with the city in July, behind closed doors. The mayor and city manager have defended their actions and have offered neither compromise nor transparency in the process.”
According to Gillespie, this could have easily been a win-win for the community and the ATV clubs alike.
She says there are alternative ATV routes that are safer for the members of the community.
“No one involved in the planning has responded to my request of what information they used to determine their version of the safest, most beneficial, and least intrusive routes,” Gillespie added.
FIGHT BACK 05855 says they are encouraging all Newport residents to get registered to vote and exercise their democratic rights.