Fairhaven Mills Site Begins Transformation

Fairhaven Mills Reconstruction Moves Quickly
By Charis Anderson, New Bedford Standard-Times

NEW BEDFORD — Just two months after the city was awarded $2.6 million in state money to reconstruct the roads surrounding Fairhaven Mills, a substantial portion of the work is already done, and workers are busy — even on rainy, windy days — finishing the rest.
“We want to see that the money gets put to work right away,” said state Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Gregory Bialecki during a visit to the site Monday.
“You see people literally working on the site, even today. … This is a great model of what we’re trying to do.”
Bialecki toured the project — accompanied by Mayor Scott W. Lang and Public Infrastructure Commissioner Ronald Labelle among others — to see the progress that has been made since the award.
Despite the cold drizzle and gusting winds, many employees were on the site Monday, working on the Coggeshall Street side of the project.
According to Labelle, the work on the Interstate 195 ramps is done, while construction on the access road into which those newly widened ramps will lead is well under way.
The road, which will cross the Fairhaven Mills site to connect Coggeshall and Sawyer streets, has been built south from Sawyer to the remaining mill building.
The building must come down before the portion north from Coggeshall can be constructed, Labelle said.
Demolition on the mill, which was held up until windows containing asbestos are removed, should start within a week, according to developer Mark White.
“It’s very important in our older industrial cities to strike a balance on old mill buildings,” Bialecki said in response to a question about the demolition, which has generated much controversy. “New Bedford isn’t losing its history here.”
Meanwhile, sidewalks along Sawyer and Mitchell streets have been poured, and new curbings have been set in place, while plantings dot the streets at regular intervals.
The completed project should improve traffic flow in the neighborhood and open up access to areas north of the project site, as well as beautify the streets, city officials said.
The state, when awarding funds, looks for projects “where you can do two or three things done with one investment,” Bialecki said.
Although the state’s budget is very tight, Bialecki said, there is still state capital available for projects “that create a table on which new private development can occur.”
canderson@s-t.com
June 23, 2009
Source URL: http://www.southcoasttoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090623/NEWS/906230342

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