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36 Hours in Newport 

click to enlarge The Northern Star - MEGAN JAMES
  • Megan James
  • The Northern Star

Originally published July 10, 2013.

The state’s northernmost city, better known for its economic struggles than its leisurely pursuits, has been generating mostly positive news of late. Chief promoter of this land of plenty is Bill Stenger, president and CEO of Jay Peak Resort. He’s been utilizing the federal EB-5 program — which gives green cards to foreigners who invest at least $500,000 in economically depressed rural regions across the U.S. — to attract $600 million of development projects to the area.

“Today, we’re looking at a community that has a lot of qualities to it, a lot of business opportunity,” says Stenger. “With patient capital and a diverse range of jobs, we’re going to really thrive.”

Stenger’s indoor water park is up and running, but Newport is waiting on Walmart; AnC Bio, a South Korean company that manufactures artificial human organs; a German window manufacturer; a hotel and conference center; and an expanded airport. Those developments are expected to create more than 5,000 jobs, from high-level tech positions to dishwasher and construction gigs. In a city with fewer than 5,000 residents, that’s a game changer. Is Newport ready to be a destination? We packed our bags and drove north to find out.

Last week, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission accused Stenger and his business partner of conducting a “Ponzi-like” scheme to defraud their investors. Read more in "Kingdom Comedown."

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About The Authors

Corin Hirsch

Corin Hirsch

Bio:
Food writer Corin Hirsch joined the Seven Days staff in 2011. She is the author of Forgotten Drinks of Colonial New England, published by History Press in 2014.
Megan James

Megan James

Bio:
Megan James began writing for Seven Days in 2010, first as Associate Arts Editor. She later became an editor for Seven Days' monthly parenting magazine, Kids VT, and is currently a freelance contributor.

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