Old houses and high water

Easton's Point, Newport

Easton's Point, Newport

From Robert Whitcomb's "Digital Diary,'' in GoLocal24.com

The Point Association of Newport, the civic organization that represents the low-lying, flood-prone Easton’s Point neighborhood, famed for its 18th Century houses, is an exemplary model of local citizens trying to address rising seas by working with the city, the state, Rhode Island’s congressional delegation and others on mitigation of flooding.

Tom Hockaday, who chairs the association, told me that rising seas “have slowly bubbled up to a critical issue,’’ for which, of course, “no one has the total solution.’’

He wishes that “things would go faster’’ to address the threat, but, he says, “we have some time’’ to prepare even as with most difficult things, ‘’people will tend to wait until the last minute.’’

“The big questions are the cost, and who will take leadership.’’  (In the end, the primary leader must be the federal government.) In any case, he says, for now much of the association’s work involves communicating the seriousness of the developing coastal crisis.

Still, he said, house prices have not yet fallen in his pricey neighborhood, despite the more frequent flooding. People love the old houses and being by the sea and will put up with some risk to have them.