By Joe Cohen
Standard-Times Staff Writer
NEW BEDFORD — Gov. Deval Patrick announced Thursday the award of $1.3 million to fix the traffic interchange at Interstate 195 and Coggeshall Street across from the Fairhaven Mills redevelopment project, disclosing new, detailed information about the developer’s plans in the process.
In a prepared release, Gov. Patrick disclosed that in addition to a major retail tenant, the developers are planning:
The governor’s release also noted that Fairhaven Mills will provide deeded public access to land bordering the Acushnet River for a walkway and a boathouse for small craft, such as rowing and sailing vessels.
Mark White of D.W. White in Acushnet and part of the development team led by Dickinson Development of Quincy that is working on the Fairhaven Mills project confirmed Thursday the information in the governor’s release.
Mr. White said the developers are planning for a total of 200,000 square feet of space, including reuse of a mill building that has historical value.
The Fairhaven Mills redevelopment will provide improved access to the adjacent 8-acre site used by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for its cleanup of contaminants such as PCBs from the Acushnet River.
The Fairhaven Mills project is expected to create 300 jobs, Gov. Patrick’s release stated, and “when completed, the project will replace an underutilized site with a vibrant, new commercial development which will serve as a gateway” to the city.
Gov. Patrick, joined by city officials and the state’s legislative delegation, announced the $1.3 million grant made under the Massachusetts Opportunity Relocation and Expansion Jobs Program.
It is the first of 20 “MORE Jobs” grants to be announced in the second round of the program.
The $1.3 million will be used to widen the highway off-ramp and add traffic signals at the intersection with Coggeshall Street.
Traffic often backs up on the off-ramp and traffic signals are expected to smooth out vehicles crossing each other’s path.
Speaking to about 70 public officials and community leaders gathered in a training room at the Greater New Bedford Career Center at 618 Acushnet Ave. on Thursday morning, Gov. Patrick said his “No. 1 priority” is to grow the state’s economy.
He said the MORE Jobs grant will “create development-ready opportunities.”
Mayor Scott W. Lang, Sen. Mark C.W. Montigny and state Reps. Stephen R. Canessa, Antonio F.D. Cabral and John F. Quinn also spoke, with praise lavished on Gov. Patrick for his continuing involvement with New Bedford.
Mayor Lang, saying the city is going through a “tough, recessionary period,” noted that Gov. Patrick came to New Bedford a few weeks ago to announce that the city was receiving “Growth District” status for the Fairhaven Mills and Hicks Logan areas.
The governor had made a previous visit weeks before that, the mayor noted. Mayor Lang said Gov. Patrick’s grant program was “designed exactly for this” and could help “jump start” economic growth in the city.
Rep. Canessa, in whose district Fairhaven Mills is located, said Gov. Patrick “talks the talk and walks the walk.”
Rep. Cabral said the intersection being upgraded is a “nightmare,” and the $1.3 million grant is “wise spending of your (taxpayers’) money.”
Sen. Montigny said Gov. Patrick is a “rare specimen” for coming back repeatedly to New Bedford — and he “brings goodies. We had 16 years (when) it didn’t work like this.”
“This is the way to spend economic development resources — to leverage private development,” Sen. Montigny said.
Contact Joe Cohen at email@example.com
June 06, 2008 6:00 AM
Source URL: http://www.southcoasttoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080606/NEWS/806060359/-1/NEWS
By Joe Cohen