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Rebuild Or Retreat? Newport Eyes Cliff Walk's Eroding Future

Public Services Director Bill Riccio peers down at debris along the historic Cliff Walk, Tuesday, March 15, 2022, in Newport, R.I. A roughly 30-foot section of the walk crumbled into the sea last week, leaving officials to ponder whether to rebuild or let if continue to fall into the ocean. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Public Services Director Bill Riccio peers down at debris along the historic Cliff Walk, Tuesday, March 15, 2022, in Newport, R.I. A roughly 30-foot section of the walk crumbled into the sea last week, leaving officials to ponder whether to rebuild or let if continue to fall into the ocean. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Newport, R.I. (AP) -- Newport, Rhode Island, is in a bind: Should the city continue propping up its landmark Cliff Walk, even though chunks of the path keep crumbling into the sea?

Last week, coastal erosion knocked out 30 feet (9 meters) of the paved trail, which winds its way beside Gilded Age mansions high above the rocky shoreline for around 3.5 miles (5.6 kilometers). The breathtaking views have made it one of the state’s most popular tourist attractions, and a central part of Newport’s identity.