Demolition of St. Anne’s set as city breaks ground on public safety center

 

NEW BEDFORD — A commanding South End corner, once home to St. Anne’s Church, will soon be transformed into a hub for fire, police and ambulance services.

Mayor Jon Mitchell, members of the City Council and leaders of the city’s public safety services held a ceremonial groundbreaking Monday for the South End Public Safety Center at 890 Brock Ave on the peninsula.

“This is a real mark of the city’s deciding to raise the bar for itself, to … build a first-rate public safety facility in a very important part of the city,” Mitchell said.

The 25,000 square-foot building will stretch from the corner of Brock Avenue and Ruth Street back to Salisbury Street, allowing fire trucks to enter from the rear. Trucks will exit directly onto Brock Avenue from four garage bays. A fifth bay will house an ambulance.

“The Ruth Street neighborhood has suffered for many decades, especially after Saint Anne’s Church closed over two decades ago,” Mitchell said. “It’s become less stable. Although in the last few years it has certainly become more stable and more safe, this … project will work very well to be an anchor for the neighborhood, in a neighborhood that needs that kind of anchor.”

The city will consolidate five deteriorating public safety buildings into one, at a price of $19 million. The cost to replace the buildings separately would top $30 million, the mayor said.

Workers are scheduled to begin demolishing the old Catholic church and school within weeks.

The city opened the former church to visitors at yesterday’s ceremony. Most of the pews and religious artifacts had been removed.

The Diocese of Fall River closed St. Anne’s in 2004 and combined the parish with St. James’ Church on County Street, which is now called Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish at St. James Church. It has been vacant since.

Among the city services that will move to the new facility are fire stations 6 and 11. Station 6, located at 151 Purchase St., dates to 1882; and Station 11 at 754 Brock Avenue to 1907 — “both terrific buildings, but both past their prime,” Mitchell said.

New Bedford has not built a new fire station since the 1950s.

Outgoing Fire Chief Michael Gomes said he advocated for updates at the new building that would put firefighters’ safety at the forefront — things like separating fire-contaminated materials from personnel space.

Of the city’s seven fire stations, four are so old they were designed for fire apparatus drawn by horses, he said.

Mitchell said the plan for a combined public safety center stems from a 2015 study the city commissioned a few years ago from FACETS Consulting, which recommended consolidating the two South End fire stations.

The new facility will allow first responders quick access to numerous points in the southern part of the city, and residents will take comfort in having a police presence in the neighborhood, he said.

New Bedford Police Chief Joseph Cordeiro was not able to attend the ceremony, but Deputy Chief Paul Oliveira delivered thanks on behalf of the departments. He said the existing South End substation is inadequate.

“This is a blessing for our officers, and we appreciate all the effort and time that’s gone into it,” he said.

The facility will hold six municipal functions: fire, police, emergency medical services, emergency management, fire prevention and animal control.

It is projected to open in the first half of 2021.

In addition to police and fire stations, the new structure will replace the former Fire Station 3, which now houses animal control and the Emergency Management Office, as well as 1204 Purchase Street, which houses the Fire Department’s Fire Prevention Division.

“This is going to be first-rate — because that’s what New Bedford deserves,” Mitchell said.

Original story here

Vineyard Wind submits bid No. 2

Posted Aug 23, 2019 at 3:07 PM

Vineyard Wind is bidding for another wind farm.

The company submitted a bid Friday for Massachusetts’ second solicitation for commercial offshore wind. Bay State Wind announced a bid earlier in the day.

Both companies made the announcements on their own initiative; the state plans to keep the names of bidders confidential until at least Aug. 30.

Vineyard Wind said it has proposed the required 400-megawatt option, plus two options for an 800-megawatt project.

“Vineyard Wind is very excited to submit these proposals, which offer significant job creation and port infrastructure investment opportunity for the region, while ensuring an attractive, fixed price for electric ratepayers,” Vineyard Wind CEO Lars Pedersen said in a news release. “We look forward to announcing additional details on this exciting project in the weeks ahead.”

The proposed wind farm, dubbed Vineyard Wind 2, would be built in Vineyard Wind’s lease area, south of the Vineyard Wind 1 project. The design for Vineyard Wind 2 shows turbines in rows aligned east to west, with spacing of one nautical mile between turbines, according to the release.

In 2018, Vineyard Wind won Massachusetts’ first contract for commercial offshore wind. Construction was scheduled to start this year, but the schedule is now uncertain because the project has been delayed in the federal permitting process. The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has said it wants to conduct a broad review of the potential effects of offshore wind on the East Coast, a decision applauded by the Responsible Offshore Development Alliance, a fishing industry group.

Confidential bids are due Friday, Aug. 23 for Massachusetts’ second solicitation. By Aug. 30, companies must submit public versions of those bids.

Original story here.

MariMed Receives Certificate of Occupancy for Cannabis Facility in New Bedford, Massachusetts

NORWOOD, Mass., Aug. 22, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — MariMed Inc. (OTCQX: MRMD), a premier cannabis and hemp multi-state operator focused on health and wellness, has received a certificate of occupancy from the city of New Bedford, Massachusetts for its new cannabis cultivation and manufacturing facility.

“ARL Healthcare, our Massachusetts cannabis licensed subsidiary, will now schedule its final state inspection to be cleared to commence full operations of its cultivation, production and dispensary,” said Bob Fireman, MariMed’s CEO. “The state inspection will also include our completed 10,000 sf dispensary located in Middleborough, Massachusetts.”

The New Bedford manufacturing facility is part of a 137,000 sf building situated on 17 acres providing for future growth and expansion. This state-of-the-art cannabis production facility will open with 34,000 sf of canopy growing space, which will be processed in its GMP standard production laboratory and commercial kitchen.

ARL Healthcare has already run local job fairs and commenced hiring and training some top individuals both in New Bedford and Middleborough, as part of its commitment to these municipalities. It intends to create over 100 new jobs in total in Massachusetts.

MariMed will be introducing into the Massachusetts marketplace its top brands and products that have had great success in other state facilities under its management. This will include its flower brand Nature’s Heritage™ with its proprietary genetics and strains; its infused product brands Betty’s Eddies™, and Kalm Fusion™; and its exclusive licensed brands “The Healer,” “Binske,” “Tikun Olam,” “Lucid Moods,” “Dab Tabs” and others. These products will be made in the New Bedford facility and will be sold through company dispensaries as well as distributed to the wholesale market.

“We are delighted to be entering into the Massachusetts market with its current shortage of supply,” noted Fireman. “ARL Healthcare is now a wholly owned subsidiary, as we work towards completing the consolidation of our managed licensed clients in multiple states. As such, the revenue from this operation will be reflected in our public company results.”

ARL Healthcare under its RMD license, has three permits for dispensaries in Massachusetts. Middleborough will be first to open with the other two currently in the implementation process. The company intends to become one of the largest wholesale producers in Massachusetts to support both the medical and adult use markets and is positioned for great success in Massachusetts.

About MariMed

MariMed, a multi-state cannabis operator, is dedicated to improving the health and wellness of people through the use of cannabinoids and cannabis products. The company develops, owns and manages seed to sale state licensed cannabis facilities which are models of excellence in horticultural principles, cannabis cultivation, cannabis infused products and dispensary operations. MariMed has an experienced management team that has produced consistent growth and success for the company and its managed business units.

The company is at the forefront of science and innovation through research developed by its lab technicians and medical advisors resulting in industry leading products and brands, including “Kalm Fusion” and “Betty’s Eddies.” These precision dosed products are focused on specific medical symptoms which are licensed and distributed across the country.

In 2019, with the enactment of the 2018 US Farm Bill, MariMed formed MariMed Hemp, a wholly owned subsidiary, to leverage its seed to sale cannabis platform and experience into the emerging hemp-based CBD industry. The company acquired a significant stake in Kentucky-based GenCanna Global, a national and international leading cultivator, producer, and distributer of hemp and GMP quality CBD oils and isolates. With this strategic relationship, MariMed Hemp has developed and is marketing a portfolio of CBD brands and products to multiple retailers and direct to consumers both domestically and internationally. MariMed Hemp recently launched its Hemp Engine™ store-within-a-store distribution platform for retailers. It is also actively pursuing other hemp industry business opportunities with genetics, farming, biomass, and new and innovative technologies.

For additional information, visit marimedinc.com.

Facebook: MariMedInc

Original story here.

Old ‘Revere Copper and Brass’ will get new life as shipyard

After sitting vacant for over a decade, an historic mill on the waterfront is getting a new life as a commercial shipyard.

At the beginning of this month, Shoreline Resources, LLC purchased the 14-acre Revere Copper Products property on North Front Street for $50,000, according to documents in the Registry of Deeds.

The property, long known as Revere Copper and Brass, had a 147-year history of rolling sheet copper, fashioning brass nautical fittings, and even producing war materials at critical points in history, as previously reported by The Standard-Times, before the plant was shuttered in 2008.

After that, many suggestions were floated for the property — including a shopping mall, residences like Lofts at Wamsutta Place, and a casino — but none came to fruition.

There are a few potential reasons it could have sold now for what seems like a low cost for waterfront property, according to former city assessor Peter Barney.

Those reasons include that with yearly taxes between $40,000- $60,000 it was costing the former owners too much to maintain the empty industrial structure; the layout of the buildings are too industrial to be made into apartments; and any potential buyer would have to factor in the cost of cleaning and developing it, he said.

The new owners of the property saw what the site could be, though.

“We saw the site come up a few years back and we saw the potential with it,” said Michael Quinn who runs Shoreline Resources with his father Charlie.

The Quinns have their own long history with the city and its port.

“We’ve been in the commercial fishing industry for 30 years,” Michael said.

Currently the father and son own Quinn Fisheries, which has six commercial fishing vessels; Standard Marine Outfitters, a vessel supply company; and East Coast Fabrication, a ship repair company.

They have run the latter company for over a decade and saw the Revere site as an opportunity to expand on it, according to Michael.

“We only do retrofits now (at East Coast Fabrication), we don’t have the space to build,” Michael said.

That’s where the new site comes in. They plan on turning it into a commercial shipyard, Michael said, and their long-term goal is to build new commercial vessels and barges.

One of the reasons the site was attractive to the Quinns was because of the city’s harbor dredging project.

“We’ve been looking at the Phase Five project for a few years now and see it as a good opportunity to reactivate the site,” said Michael.

That was the goal of the harbor dredging project, according to Executive Director of the Port of New Bedford Edward Anthes-Washburn.

“The whole point of the planning we’ve done is to activate the parts of the waterfront that aren’t doing much,” said Anthes-Washburn, noting that included the Revere Copper property.

Anthes-Washburn said the city, with around 350 vessels that list it as their homeport, will benefit from the proposed shipyard.

“Having an expanded ability to work on the fishing vessels that call the port home is going to be great for the port,” Anthes-Washburn said.

Mayor Jon Mitchell agreed, “Establishing a shipyard at this site gives the port an increased capacity to service the fishing industry, the offshore wind industry, and others.”

In addition to attracting the Quinns, Mitchell said the dredging that will take place in the next few years will open the port to more business activities.

Both Mitchell and Anthes-Washburn said the shipyard will create jobs.

“When Revere closed that plant there was still a large number of people working there and although this site won’t be as large a direct employer it will allow other businesses to operate here who in turn will employee a significant number of people,” Mitchell said.

Before they start hiring a potential 20-50 employees (including welders, carpenters, and mechanics), Shoreline Resources has to start construction, which Michael said they plan on doing right away.

Construction will involve demolishing a few of the buildings on the waterside to create a few areas for the vessels, according to Michael Quinn, but they won’t be taking down the buildings on the roadside.

“We’re probably taking down two acres worth of buildings,” said Michael about the 14-acre site which has a total of eight buildings.

Mitchell said he’s had “some very constructive discussions” with the Quinns about preserving the buildings on the site that have the highest historical significance.

“There’s a lot of historical value to the site which is another reason our family wanted to take it on,” Quinn said. “We come from New Bedford and want to see the site reactivated and not go to waste.”

The construction plan for the site will take three to five years to complete, according to Michael, and they’ve been working closely with the city and other institutions to get the process underway.

Original story here.

Dredging will open 40 harbor sites, including Revere Copper, to new opportunities

They’re going to build boats at the old Revere Copper. To do it, son-and-father team Michael and Charlie Quinn need the harbor dredged in front of the iconic former metalworks.

Four feet of water is far from enough.

Their company, Shoreline Resources, is one of dozens in New Bedford and Fairhaven poised to benefit from a massive, nearly harbor-wide dredging plan, set to take place over the next two years.

The dredging will remove sediment along public and private wharves on both sides of New Bedford Harbor, deepen channels to improve access to marinas, and create areas newly usable for mooring fields.

Edward Anthes-Washburn, New Bedford port director, said the hulls of fishing vessels are getting deeper, requiring more draft.

“Allowing … the entire port to react to that and be able to dredge down, it really sets us up for decades of success,” he said.

The city and state are cooperating on a dredging plan whose main goal is economic development. But because the dredging will also remove contaminated sediment, the city was able to get the work permitted through the federal Superfund process already underway.

“It’s like a win-win,” said Timothy Cox, Fairhaven harbormaster.

Right now, shallow waters mean it’s not unusual for Cox’s staff to aid vessels that have run aground in areas north of Pope’s Island.

“A lot of the boats at Slocum Cove at moon tides can’t leave the marina or get to the marina,” he said.

Washburn said the commitment to dredge has already spurred investment, including the recent purchase of the old Fairhaven Hardware by Fairhaven Shipyard.

As many sites in Fairhaven are scheduled for dredging as in New Bedford, including 14 residential properties, according to Cox.

Fifteen Fairhaven businesses have agreed to participate as well, according to Paul Foley, the town’s director of planning and economic development.

Washburn said that as part of the State Enhanced Remedy, which is work done in coordination with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency cleanup of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in the harbor, the state is funding 80% of the navigational dredging in front of commercial properties.

The overall cost is about $100 a yard.

The 80% represents the portion of the cost attributed to the fact that sediment is contaminated and needs to be buried in a confined aquatic disposal cell, or CAD cell.

Businesses will pay 20% — which is roughly the equivalent of what they would have paid for dredging if the harbor were clean, Washburn said.

Residential owners will not get the subsidy, but because the work is tacked onto a larger project, they will pay about one-sixth of what they would have otherwise paid, he said.

Foley said a cleaner harbor will improve public perception of the harbor, and deeper water could allow for 100 or more additional moorings.

At State Pier on the New Bedford side, dredging will help support the shipping of clementines and other produce. And a variety of businesses, such as Crystal Ice, will be able to provide services to larger vessels, Washburn said.

The dredging is expected to go down five feet, and most of the contamination is in the first three feet. The material going into the CAD cell is less contaminated than the area around it, according to Washburn.

The navigational dredging project will have its own CAD cell, south and east of an existing CAD cell created by the EPA. It will be capped with three feet of clean material.

Building the cell should take nine months to a year, and the dredging should take another year, Washburn said.

He said the waterfront is “incredibly vibrant,” diverse, and job-rich.

“We only have about 600 acres, and there are 6,800 jobs that are located in the New Bedford and Fairhaven waterfronts. So we’re doing pretty good in terms of the marine industrial activities that’s happening,” he said.

The harbor is growing as a fishing port at a time when many fishing ports are disappearing, in large part because of the diversity of what New Bedford Harbor offers, he said.

As new uses emerge, such as offshore wind, the port wants to create infrastructure to support them while continuing to grow as a fishing port and supporting the fishing industry, he said.

In all, 40 different sites will be dredged for navigation as part of the project.

Maps of the work will be on view at a public meeting Aug. 13 at 2 p.m. at Fairhaven Town Hall. The project is also scheduled for discussion the following week at the Fairhaven selectmen’s meeting, Washburn said.

St. Luke’s Hospital starts construction on new $14M intensive care unit

Posted Jul 17, 2019 at 7:37 PM

The state-of-the-art unit also aligns with Southcoast’s pursuit of establishing a Level II trauma center at St. Luke’s Hospital in 2020, Southcoast Health said in a news release Wednesday night.

“Our investment in advanced intensive care will provide our patients with greater access to clinical excellence, close to home,” said Keith Hovan, president and CEO of Southcoast Health, in a statement. “The residents of southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island deserve the very best healthcare. We are excited to be investing in this new Intensive Care Unit as part of our ongoing commitment to delivering exceptional care and service to our patients and communities.”

Mayor Jon Mitchell, also in a statement, praised Southcoast Health “for continuing to invest in this community and delivering the highest quality care to the people of New Bedford and beyond.”

Mitchell, who toured the site of the new unit Wednesday, said “Needing the services of critical care can be an emotional and trying experience for patients and families. This new unit will have the space, technology and skilled care team that will make all the difference during someone’s time of need.”

The new 16,000-square-foot-unit — the current unit is 7,300 square feet — is being constructed on the fourth floor of St. Luke’s. Equipped with the latest technology, it will feature 16 spacious, 440-square-foot rooms that “will accommodate medical equipment and enable family and staff to be comfortably at the patient’s bedside,” the news release said.

A conference room will be dedicated for physician meetings with families and a lounge area, with refreshments, TV and showers, will be available to families staying long hours, officials said.

“I am excited about the opportunity for our nurses, physicians and staff to work within a new state-of-the-art unit that is designed to provide an optimal experience for patients, families and providers,” said Maria Tassoni, RN, manager of the intensive care unit, in a statement.

Commending staff for their input and suggestions for the new unit, Tassoni, a Southcoast employee for 31 years, went on to say that “When a great care team has a great facility, the patients and community benefit.”

Southcoast Health officials said the new unit will also play an integral role in the hospital’s efforts to achieve designation as a Level II trauma center, meaning that St. Luke’s would be able to treat more serious injuries for people in the community. Currently, patients in need of such care are often sent to Rhode Island or Boston hospitals.

Southcoast Health employs 2,453 people at its New Bedford locations, and employs 1,581 city residents who work at Southcoast, the release said.

“As the region’s only not-for-profit health system, we know the importance of continually investing in our system to ensure all the residents of this region have access to the highest possible quality of care,” said Hovan in the release. “And as the region’s largest employer, we want to provide our staff with the best facilities and equipment to treat and serve our patients, their families, and the larger community.”

Original post here.

After nearly 30 years, a South Coast Rail groundbreaking

Tuesday marked the highly celebrated beginning of the South Coast Rail project’s southern expansion, bringing MBTA Commuter Rail Service from Boston south to the cities of Fall River and New Bedford.

The occasion was not the first groundbreaking for the project, which has been gestating in Massachusetts politics for roughly 30 years.

That point was not lost on MassDOT CEO Stephanie Pollack, who took a moment Tuesday to recall a 2015 conversation she had with Fall River state Sen. Michael Rodrigues.

At the time, Rodrigues warned Pollack of the shovels he had collected over the years from past South Coast Rail groundbreakings and said he didn’t want another one until construction was already underway.

“We’re here today because there is actual construction work underway,” Pollack said to an applauding audience of local and state officials.

Pollack and Rodrigues were joined by the likes of Gov. Charlie Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, and many of the region’s state representatives for Tuesday’s ceremony. A total of 45 politicians and government officials plunged gleaming shovels into the symbolic mound of dirt positioned beside a set of Freetown train tracks at the ceremony.

The project has undergone a series of fits and starts since Gov. William Weld first asked the state Legislature approve funding for preliminary studies. A series of obstacles — including loss of funding and environmental impact concerns — have plagued the project since it began, but many of Tuesday’s attendees were confident that the proverbial trains would finally be pulling out of the station.

When asked what made him so confident that the project would be completed by its proposed 2023 end date, Baker said the project has two things going for it that it didn’t previously have: a completed construction plan and a designated funding source.

“Those are really the two big things it didn’t have before. It has a real construction and design plan and the second thing is a real capital plan. And that basically guarantees that it’s going to happen,” said Baker, explaining that $1 billion in funding has already been allocated in the state’s 5-year capital plan.

“We’ve already got contracts on this. People are doing work on it. We’ve already acquired property, we’ve got all the permits,” said Baker. “This is literally a groundbreaking held after the project had begun.”

Work already underway represents Phase I of the South Coast Rail project. Thus far, the project has seen culvert installation along the train’s proposed route being done in East Freetown, as well as track upgrades and bridge renovation.

The next four years of the project will see the commuter rail’s Middleboro Line being extended to New Bedford and Fall River, which will require reconstructing 17.3 miles of the existing New Bedford main line track and 11.7 miles of the Fall River secondary track.

Upgrades will also have to be done to 7.1 miles of the Middleboro secondary track between Pilgrim and Cotley Junctions. Two new layover facilities will also have to be constructed, as well as six new train stations. Representatives of the greater Fall River and New Bedford area were similarly optimistic that Tuesday about the project’s future.

Rodrigues, whose first South Coast Rail groundbreaking was over 20 years ago, praised the state’s most recent efforts and highlighted the potential impact commuter rail service will have on the region. “The communities of the SouthCoast deserve to be economically competitive with the rest of the region, and South Coast Rail is a large piece of that,” he said. “I applaud the Baker-Polito Administration for finally making this long-promised project a reality.”

Original post here.

Proposal to turn New Bedford Armory into apartments

By Kiernan Dunlop

The city’s own castle, the New Bedford Armory, may have a chance at a new life after sitting unused for nearly two decades.

Winter Real Estate Investors has submitted a proposal with the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance to turn the state-owned buildings into apartments and storage units, while maintaining their historical features, according to WREI President Gregory Winter.

The state held an open request for proposals for the property, 989 Pleasant St., that were due in April. WREI was the only company to respond.

The armory was opened in 1904; it consists of the castle-like headhouse, a drill hall, an operations maintenance shop, and a garage. The building housed some form of the Massachusetts National Guard for most of its history, but was closed by the state in 2003.

Since then, the state has put the building up for auction at various times, as previously reported by The Standard Times, but none was successful.

WREI’s proposal would redevelop the headhouse into nine apartments, according to White: two studios, three one-bedrooms, three two-bedroom, and one three-bedroom.

Winter said rent would range from $1,000 to $2,100 per month based on their size.

The drill hall and operations maintenance building would be transformed into self-storage facilities. The proposal states “the drill hall’s dimensions work very well for this adaptive re-use while allowing for the preservation of the historical exterior.”

Since the proposal was submitted, however, Winter has said, “we’ll be studying very hard during the due diligence whether self storage is in fact going to work.”

Due diligence is a 90-day period where the developer is allowed to enter the site and determine the feasibility of the plans.

Winter said during that time they will decide if the building can structurally handle the weight incurred by storage units and if the site is identifiable enough to draw in customers.

If WREI decides to move forward with the storage units, Winter said the two buildings would house approximately 270.

The garage would be used for parking for armory residents.

Since the headhouse was vacated in 2003, it has experienced significant damage to the interior, most of which was caused by a fire in 2009.

“Water has been soaking the wooden structure for over 10 years,” said White, “and that’s led to pretty significant concerns as to whether (we’re) going to be able to keep the structure or do a total gut rehab.”

Winter said they submitted a total budget of $8.7 million, but now says “we’re going to spend more than that by a pretty handsome margin based on what we’ve learned about the conditions of the building.”

When asked why he decided to take on the project, Winter, whose resume includes the renovation of the Prudential Center in Boston, said, “I think it’s a beautiful historic building and I like working on challenging projects; this project presents more than its fair share of challenges.”

Winter won’t be taking on those challenges alone, Cruz Companies will act as the construction manager, DBVW Architects of Providence as the preservation architect, and various others will act as engineers and consultants for the project.

John Cruz, the president of Cruz Companies, said, “for me this was a golden opportunity to start the base of the construction division in the New Bedford area.”

They plan to open up a construction office in New Bedford as part of a larger plan for the company to do more in the Southeastern region of the state, said Cruz.

He also explained that he loves working on historical buildings.“I particularly think that one of the reasons New Bedford is going to make a comeback is because it’s a city that hasn’t lost its historic fabric.”

The armory project will require working with the city and state to receive historic preservation, new market, and housing development incentive program tax credits, according to White.

White’s Permitting Attorney, John A. Markey Jr. explained it’s still too early to know what city departments will be involved in the process, but it could possibly include the Historical Commission, Zoning Board of Appeals, Planning Board, and City Council.

Markey said going forward they want to work closely with the mayor, City Council and state legislators.

State Sen. Mark Montigny has supported the redevelopment of the armory in the past and “is encouraged by the most recent developer’s interest,” according to spokesperson Audra Riding.

Mayor Jon Mitchell said WREI’s proposal is “good news” in a statement and that the armory “is an architecturally significant building that holds an important place in the city’s history.”

“I also appreciate the information Winter Real Estate has provided to city staff about their plans for the armory,” said Mitchell, “and we look forward to working more with them as the project progresses.”

If everything goes according to WREI’s proposal, the redevelopment of the armory could be completed as early as February 2021.

Follow Kiernan Dunlop on Twitter @KiernanD_SCT.

Original story here.

Council approves $1.5 million for 17 Community Preservation Act projects

Posted May 12, 2019 at 5:10 PM
Updated at 9:39 AM

City Council voted to fund 17 Community Preservation Act projects last week, totaling $1.5 million.

The funding included $75,000 for the Sgt. Sean Gannon Memorial Playground at Campbell Elementary and $350,000 for the Capitol Theater restoration, which would help transform the 1920 theater into affordable artist-based housing with a community welfare center.

Two of the projects that were being funded were called into question by Councilor-at-Large Naomi Carney at Thursday’s meeting: $250,000 for the rehabilitation of the Butler Flats Light and $40,000 for a house at 29 Seventh St.

“Personally, I do have a problem when community preservation money goes to private individuals,” said Carney. “Not that their projects aren’t worthy.”

Carney asked the council to vote to cut the projects from the funding order.

South Coast Rail is now ‘full speed ahead’

Posted Apr 22, 2019 at 1:10 PM
Updated Apr 22, 2019 at 8:14 PM

BOSTON – A project to renovate and expand commuter rail lines to the SouthCoast cleared important hurdles after receiving a crucial federal permit and full state funding, officials announced Monday.

Department of Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack, speaking at a MassDOT board meeting, said the long-discussed South Coast Rail program will now proceed “full speed ahead.” State employees have already begun relevant infrastructure work and acquiring land that will go toward construction of new stations.

The project’s first phase will extend the Middleboro line to New Bedford and Fall River, bringing six new stations and two new layover facilities into the rail network. Officials also plan to reconstruct almost 30 miles of tracks along the New Bedford main line and the Fall River secondary line and to upgrade the existing Middleboro secondary track.

“Today’s capital funding announcement by the Baker-Polito Administration is further proof that rail restoration is coming to New Bedford and Fall River,” said State Rep. William Straus in a statement. “I compliment the governor for staying true to our region and dedicating the resources needed to bring this critical transit option to the SouthCoast.”

Original story here.