Officials seeking public’s ideas for underused New Bedford port areas

Posted Dec 8, 2017 at 7:18 PM

Even with New Bedford already ranked by NOAA as the most valuable port in the United States, generating more than $325 million in revenue last year, there’s still room to grow.

That’s the word from Derek Santos, executive director of the Economic Development Council, and Ed Anthes-Washburn, executive director of the Harbor Development Commission.

“In terms of designated port areas, it’s the envy of the rest of the Commonwealth in terms of the number of jobs and the level of industry it supports,” Anthes-Washburn said. “When you look at the waterfront from the water perspective, the only two parts of the waterfront that aren’t active and doing anything are the Sprague site and the Hicks Logan Sawyer site.”

Through years of planning and public meetings, a plan emerged involving a site in the northern part of the harbor and another in the southern.

“We’re a fishing port,” Santos said. “We’re good at it. We just want to keep doing more of it.”

The Sprague site located in the southern end of the terminal extends from Leonard’s Wharf to the northern tip of Cape Street.

The land and assets are proposed to bring in marine technology and marine industrial companies. There’s also space on the street side to develop parking, a conference center and an area that brings the public closer to the seafood industry, much like Chatham Pier and Fish Market.

The northern area involves Kenyon Street to Wamsutta Street. The area is not a designated port area but could still benefit through marine industrial use along with improved public space for the existing residential areas.

“We want to see residential development in the downtown,” Santos said. “But we want to see industrial uses and those industrial uses pushed forward on the waterfront.”

At least five public meetings on the topics have been held so far. On Tuesday, the second public meeting was held regarding the redevelopment plan.

During each meeting, questions regarding waterfront condos seem to pop up. Each time, a reminder of the commitment to the fishing industry is explained.

“To see us doubling down on what we know works and using that as a bridge to the next opportunity has really been what’s been the success in the last four years and it builds trust,” Anthes-Washburn said.

The public meetings will continue in the future. Santos plans for multiple meetings occurring in 2018. The input likely won’t cease throughout the 20-year project, which may not be completed until closer to 2040.

“We want the public to be engaged,” Anthes-Washburn said. “These plans don’t work if the public feels alienated. So really, engaging with the public, engaging with the neighborhoods, that’s going to be important to the success of the plan.”

Follow Michael Bonner on Twitter @MikeBBonnerSCT

Original story here.

Area native Margo Saulnier to oversee New Bedford’s Cultural Plan

By Jonathan Carvalho, APR
Office of the Mayor

jcarvalho@newbedford-ma.gov

New Bedford has selected area native Margo Saulnier to serve as the Cultural Coordinator for the city’s arts and culture community, overseeing the development and implementation of New Bedford’s Cultural Plan.

In recent years, New Bedford’s reputation has grown as the center for arts in the region and as a creative and inviting place for all types of artists to live and work.  New Bedford was named the “Seventh Most Artistic City” by Atlantic Monthly, ranked Ninth on Matador Network’s list of Most Creative Towns, and sixth on Bustle’s Best Cities for Young Artists. 

The Arts, Culture and Tourism Fund was proposed by Mayor Jon Mitchell in the spring of 2016 and approved by the City Council last year, and consists of half the revenue from the city’s lodging tax, capped  at a total of $100,000. Creation of the fund also required the passage of a home rule petition by the state legislature. The petition’s passage in 2017 was led by state Sen. Mark Montigny.

Using monies from the Arts, Culture and Tourism Fund, the City selected the New Bedford Economic Development Council (NBEDC) to manage the search for the Cultural Coordinator. Over the summer, the NBEDC conducted a search for a Cultural Coordinator, and after receiving and reviewing applications and conducting interviews, area native Margo Saulnier was selected.

An Acushnet native and New Bedford High School graduate, Margo Saulnier is an experienced creative professional and educator with more than two decades of performing arts and entertainment industry experience. She has consulted on a number of projects in Boston with Celebrity Series of Boston, including three large-scale public outdoor projects: Street Pianos Boston “Play Me I’m Yours” (2013 and 2016), “Le Grand Continental” dance performance in Copley Square (2014), and “Let’s Dance/Bailemos Boston!” (2015) on the Rose Kennedy Greenway. She has managed production and programming for more than 4,000 live shows at the Boston Pops and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.

Ms. Saulnier is currently a lecturer in the Music Department at Northeastern University’s College of Arts, Media, and Design, focusing primarily on management of music organizations, performing arts administration, and a course she created, Artistic Planning for Venues and Festivals. In 2016, she moderated the panel on women in music management, booking, negotiations and technology for Northeastern’s “Changing the Conversation: Women’s Equality in the Music Industry” Symposium. In 2014, she moderated the arts economics panel for Northeastern’s CREATE Initiative’s Value of Presenting Symposium. She has also participated on panels at the Future of Music Summit, Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP), and Boston University.

For more than a decade, Ms. Saulnier was involved in artistic planning for the Boston Pops, where she produced the orchestral debuts of Steve Martin, Oleta Adams, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, Cowboy Junkies, Melinda Doolittle, Guster, Aimee Mann, Natalie Merchant, My Morning Jacket, Amanda Palmer, Ozomatli, and many others.

She holds a degree in music from Boston University and a master of fine arts degree from Brooklyn College.

“The arts have been an important part of New Bedford’s story, dating back to its whaling days. The Cultural Plan will add to our cultural scene, attracting creativity and investment to the City and improving marketing, programming, and public art,” said Mayor Jon Mitchell. “I’m pleased that a highly qualified, driven professional, Margo Saulnier, will oversee the plan with both vision and passion to see the best results for New Bedford’s respected arts and culture community.”

“Margo is committed to innovative and interdisciplinary programming, new audience development, community engagement, and making arts accessible to all,” said Derek Santos, executive director of the New Bedford Economic Development Council.

New Bedford Regional Airport adds commercial flights to Florida

Polito hopes dredging can begin “in the near future”

Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito left SouthCoast last week with the notion that the region has the ability to become a juggernaut within the “blue economy.”

The city’s port recently ranked as the most valuable in the country for the 17th consecutive year.

But there’s more room to grow.

“Dredging really activates the rest of the waterfront,” Executive Director of the Harbor Development Council Ed Anthes-Washburn said. “And it maintains what we have. If we’re not able to dredge, then the port shuts down because you can’t get a boat to the dock.”

Polito finished her visit to New Bedford with a ribbon-cutting ceremony for State Pier’s new refrigeration installation. It also allowed for time to discuss the port’s need for dredging.

“We’re working with the city officials here in New Bedford to determine the phases that will be needed in order to properly dredge this port,” Polito said.

Three years ago the state set aside $35 million to continue with Phase V dredging of the port. Three years later, the need remains.

“There are dredging dollars designated now through our MassWorks program,” Polito said. “And from that analysis and continued discussions with the city, we will get to a place where we can begin some work in the near future.”

The federal channel, which is maintained by the Army Corp of Engineers, hasn’t been dredged since the 1950s. The rest of the port was last dredged in 2014. The $7 million project increased the depth 4 feet to 28.5 feet. However, to be authorized by the federal government, the average depth during low tides is required to be 30 feet.

The $35 million set-aside is the estimated cost for dredging the federal channel and complete Phase V dredging in the harbor. Completing the projects together is more cost effective than handling each separately.

In past dredging projects, the state has covered 80 percent of the cost and private corporations made up for the remainder.

“I look forward to the next round of discussions with the Baker-Polito administration about how state funding for berth dredging will unlock private investment and job opportunities in the Port of New Bedford,” Mayor Jon Mitchell said. “With clear channels to key waterfront sites, the port would be able to compete more effectively in the fishing, cargo and offshore wind industries for years to come.”

In September, the City Council unanimously passed a written motion pressing the state’s legislative delegation, U.S. Rep William Keating and Gov. Charlie Baker to appropriate the funding so that dredging could begin.

Phase V dredging involves about 25 docking areas. Some are in use and some aren’t. When dredged, the available water space would lead to nearly 400 direct jobs in the harbor and nearly 900 total, according to analysis conducted by Martin Associates.

The same study showed the dredging would lead to more than $250 million in business revenue and $11.5 million in state and local taxes.

“There’s companies that needed it yesterday. So certainly the need is there,” Anthes-Washburn said. “I think there’s a lot of pent up demand. We’re just trying to make that story clear. Moving forward, we want to work with the administration to get the project moving as quick as possible.”

Follow Michael Bonner on Twitter @MikeBBonnerSCT.

Original Story Here

Karyn Polito: State, SouthCoast working to ‘unleash’ region’s potential

Behind the Counter: Hippo is where unique meets hip meets art

City’s art museum hires UMD grad as new executive director

Nov 6, 2017 at 9:12 PM

Ashley Occhino, a University of Massachusetts Dartmouth graduate, has been named as the new executive director of the New Bedford Art Museum/ArtWorks!, officials announced Monday.

“I’ve always found myself coming back to New Bedford again and again. There’s such a rich art community there,” said Occhino, who is in her mid 30s. She’s from Attleboro and lives in Taunton.

Occhino has served as the manager of studio class programs at the Worcester Art Museum since 2014.

Occhino is set to take the helm Nov. 27. Her leadership follows retirement of Noelle Foye who shepherded the merger between the New Bedford Art Museum and ArtWorks! which occurred in 2014 and directed the combined organization. Under Foye’s guidance, exhibitions and educational programs grew while collaborations with other institutions expanded, according to a news release from the museum.

“Noelle Foye’s leadership positioned the art museum to be central to the community and that strength has allowed us to attract such a new talented leader,” said Lee Heald, director of AHA! and a member of the museum’s board and search committee for a new executive director. “We expect that Ashley will continue our strong support of community expression in the arts as well as support for excellence and achievement in the local arts community.”

Heald also said Occhino has a lot of enthusiasm and will bring a fresh perspective to the city.

“New Bedford holds a very special place in my heart and it’s through my times at UMass Dartmouth that I really learned about the city,” Occhino said.

She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) from UMass Dartmouth College of Visual and Performing Arts and has an MFA from Savannah College of Art and Design. She was one of the first classes to experience the Star Store in New Bedford, part of her thesis involved displaying work at ArtWorks! and she’s also taught art classes there, she said.

At the Worcester Art Museum, Occhino said she was in charge of developing programming, managing staff and working with community partners. Also, an education wing with dedicated exhibition space fell under her purview. The museum has an intensive education program with more than 100 classes each season, Occhino said.

She’s previously held leadership positions at Danforth Art in Framingham and the Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton, each time serving in education departments.

“I really just want to embrace the idea of a community museum,” Occhino said. She praised Foye for being successful with the merger, adding “I’m really honored to be following in her footsteps.”

“We are excited the New Bedford Art Museum/Artworks! has hired Ashley Occhino as the museum’s new Executive Director. The NB Art Museum/Artworks! is ideal for arts travelers and invigorates the community. Ashley is familiar with the arts & culture landscape in New Bedford as well as her years of experience and passion for the arts, we look forward to working with her,” said Dagny Ashley, the city’s director of tourism and marketing, in a statement.

Jamie Uretsky, curator at NBAM/ArtWorks! said she looks forward to removing her hat as acting director.

“I’ve only heard good things about Ashley,” Uretsky said. “It’s going to be nice to have her energy in the space.”

Follow Aimee Chiavaroli on Twitter @AimeeC_SCT

Original Story Here

 

 

New Bedford retains title of highest valued port for 17th-straight year

While Tom Brady and the Patriots work toward two consecutive championships, the Port of New Bedford achieved its 17th straight.

No other port in the United States brought in more revenue in 2016 than New Bedford’s $327 million, NOAA announced Wednesday. Dutch Harbor, Alaska, finished second with $198 million.

New Bedford’s commercial fishermen landed 107 million pounds, which ranked 11th in the country and 663 million pounds fewer than Dutch Harbor. Still, New Bedford held the crown for the most valuable port in the country by nearly $130 million.

In context, Dutch Harbor and Empire-Venice, Louisiana, which ranked second and third respectively, in terms of value, combined wouldn’t equal New Bedford.

In 2016, the Port of New Bedford landed 17 million fewer pounds than 2015, however, the value of the landings increased by $5 million.

The port landed the most catch in Massachusetts, too. Gloucester ranked 15th nationally and second in the state with 63 million pounds, which led to $52 million, 18th in the country.

Provincetown-Chatham ranked 29th in the country landing 27 million pounds, which equated to $33 million, 33rd in the country.

Massachusetts held the third highest value in the country behind Alaska (caught by far most volume at 5.6 billion pounds) and Maine (caught 83 percent of the country’s lobster, the most profitable catch in 2016). Of the Bay State’s $552.2 million, New Bedford accounted for nearly 60 percent of that total. The value of the landings in the state increased by more than $27 million from 2015.

Massachusetts led the country in landing 19.8 million pounds of surf clams and 22.9 million pounds of scallops.

The price of scallops dropped 26 cents to $12 per pound from 2015 to 2016.

The state landed the second most Ocean Quahog (12.2 million pounds), soft clams (669,000 pounds) and lobster (17.7 million pounds).

Despite the increase in value from 2015, the state still saw the the number of processing and wholesale facilities decrease by two to 50. However, the number of overall employees at those facilities in the state only dropped by six.

Follow Michael Bonner on Twitter @MikeBBonnerSCT.

Original Story Here:

Bay State Wind opens downtown New Bedford office in wind power bid

New Bedford makes its pitch to impress, attract Amazon

Calling New Bedford “a city unlike any other” with its proud past and bright future, officials submitted a 40-page proposal to Amazon, as the e-commerce giant seeks a location to construct a second world headquarters.

While the state included New Bedford as one of 26 Massachusetts communities in its formal proposal to Amazon, the city also independently submitted its pitch to build the headquarters on property at the municipal golf course on Hathaway Road.

The prize is huge: a million square foot facility and 50,000 well-paying jobs — enough to transform the economy of wherever Amazon decides to place it.

“New Bedford’s come a long way in the last few years,” said Mayor Jon Mitchell. “And we’ve reached a point where we can — with a straight face — make this kind of pitch to the likes of Amazon. It’s not to say we’re the odds on favorite, but we can make a play for this with credibility.”

It was in May that the city teamed up with Mass Development to divide the golf course property and create a 1.3 million square foot commercial development that would bring an estimated 1,000 jobs, well short of what Amazon expects to create. The rest of the land would become a nine-hole golf course; the course currently has 18 holes.

In June, Jay Ash, the state’s housing and economic development secretary, visited the course and called it a “no-brainer” for economic development because it’s one of the few greenfields left in the state.

Ash declared that there are only two other sites with the potential that New Bedford’s has, given the easy access to highways, rail and an airport: a former Naval air base in Weymouth and vacant space across from Gillette Stadium in Foxboro. Both are included with the state’s bid.

In its proposal, the state writes that the New Bedford site has the potential for a 9.5 million-square-foot build-out. It also notes the site is 18 miles from the Middleboro Line for the MBTA, 58 miles from Logan International Airport and 37 miles from TF Green airport.

 “The historic city of New Bedford is the SouthCoast’s hot spot for dining and the arts, while retaining its authentic character as the nation’s largest fishing port,” the state wrote in its bid.

In the city’s bid, New Bedford is touted as a home to a “hard-working, innovative, entrepreneurial and creative” work force.

“As a city of immigrants, we have drawn from the best that the world offers. As a city of ideas, New Bedford is the place where you can walk the same streets as Herman Melville and Frederick Douglass,” the bid reads.

“As a city of culture, New Bedford is the place where you can have a great seat to Yo-Yo Ma, the B-52s and a Bob Woodward lecture. And as a city of innovation, we transformed the whaling industry and are leaders in establishing the first American port to incorporate the offshore wind industry into the mix with fishing and cargo.”

Rick Kidder, president and CEO of the SouthCoast Chamber of Commerce, sounded calm and confident Friday that the city’s application could be a winner.

“Having been around the world of corporate relocations I have never seen a process like Amazon is going through,” he told The Standard-Times.

Kidder said there is much here to offer. “I believe we have things going for us,” including the use of the golf course land, transportation routes including an airport, quality of life and reasonable housing.

The application included a reference to Entrepreneurship For All, a group that helps SouthCoast startups and entrepreneurs. The document lists it as a “innovation asset,” noting that “Seventy-three percent of E4All’s startups are headed by women, 57 percent by minorities and 52 percent by immigrants.”

Shelley Cardoos, executive director of EforAll SouthCoast, said Friday she had not heard that her organization was hailed in the Amazon application.

But she said she was happy to know that EforAll, just two years old in SouthCoast, had made an impression worth mentioning. “I’m glad our efforts and impact are being recognized for creating jobs and dollars,” she said.

The city also touted the lower cost of housing along with access to schools and recreational opportunities in this area.

In August, the median sale price for a home in the state was $372,500, while it was $200,000 in New Bedford. The city also boasts historic neighborhoods that provide “a variety of housing types,” the proposal said.

The proposal also notes:

“New Bedford High School offers academy learning, featuring engineering and finance, and it offers 19 Advanced Placement courses. The high school also has a history of graduates attending elite universities.”

“The city’s first open space was created in the 1860s, and the city hasn’t stopped — 6 parks, 24 neighborhood parks, more than 12 miles of trails and bikeways, 26 acres of beaches, etc.”

New Bedford officials also outlined to Amazon the city’s tax increment financing (TIF) program, which supplies exclusive breaks for coming to a Gateway City, and the “unique tax abatement” of a foreign trade zone.

In addition to New Bedford, others in the area making a pitch to Amazon include Fall River and Taunton. Fall River has 501 acres available with its Riverfront Park and SouthCoast Life Science & Technology Park. Taunton has 146 acres at the Silver City Galleria Mall.

READ NEW BEDFORD’S COMPLETE PITCH FOR AMAZON’S HQ2