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Shorefront mural gives Newport a river view

Jen Knutson, a member of the Newport on the Move volunteer group, applies sealant last week to the new mosaic at Newport's Grove Street Overlook Park next to the Mississippi River. The group hopes the mosaic will serve as a welcome sign to boaters on the river.

For boaters cruising the Mississippi River, there's now little doubt they're floating past Newport.

A Newport volunteer group recently put the finishing touches on a riverfront mosaic that its members hope will serve as a welcome sign to those boating the Mississippi River between St. Paul and Hastings.

Located at the Grove Street Overlook Park at the end of 10th Street, the mosaic is made up of hundreds of pieces of painted ceramic tile put together last month by nearly 20 Newport kids aged 6 to 16 and another dozen adult volunteers. It was dreamed up and carried out by Newport on the Move, a group of Newport women who also helped launch the city's first community gardening space this summer.

Linda Michie, one of the group's founding members, spearheaded the mosaic project after she said she and other boaters noticed there was no way to tell it was Newport's shores they were floating past.

The new mural clears that up, spelling out Newport in large pieces of tile, as well as offering the location's river coordinates.

"I love it," Michie said. "But I'm a little biased."

Newport on the Move is beginning to plan its 2012 projects, Michie said, and she said she hopes to see another mosaic project in the future. The group's next moves include expanding the growing community garden and launching an after school program for Newport kids.

With the mosaic project and community garden, Michie said, "I think we all feel that we picked two good projects that the scope wasn't out of our reach. I think we're proving ourselves by being successful with those two projects."