Hurricane Barrier To Be “Boardwalked”

City Gets $1M in State Grants for Recreation
Hurricane Barrier Walking Path, Acushnet River Park to be Built
By Brian Boyd Standard Times Staff Writer
November 22, 2008

The state has awarded the city $1 million to provide people with new opportunities to enjoy views of the water.
The money will help pay for a new park off the Acushnet River and a new walking path atop the city’s hurricane barrier.
“I think it begins to highlight New Bedford’s natural attributes,” Mayor Scott W. Lang said Monday.
The city will receive $500,000 to build the riverside park on land near the Acushnet line, complete with lighting, picnic tables and benches, a boat ramp, and walking path, according to the state Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.
Another $500,000 state grant will go to create the path on the barrier, with lighting, benches, planters and trash cans, the environmental office announced Friday.
The mayor said the projects will give people new recreational opportunities and these enhancements will in turn help the city’s economy.
“The more desirable the city is, we will have more people and jobs come to the city, he said.
For the park, city is, we will have more people and jobs come to the city,” he said.
For the park, the city purchased more than 3 acres about six years ago with the intention of one day building a park, said Ronald H Labelle, the city’s commissioner of public infrastructure.
The money becomes available July 1. The city will design the park in-house in the meantime and could have it ready for the pubic as early as next fall or early winter, he said.
The park will give people access to the river, which ahs been undergoing an environmental cleanup overseen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
“It’s nice to see the river cleaned up, and it’s great to be able to provide access to the general public to see the results of that cleanup, Mr. Labelle said.
The land where the park will be built is currently fenced off and overgrown.
The hurricane barrier, complete in 1966 by the Army Corps of Engineer, protects about 1,400 acres of land, from the harbor to Clarks Cove, stretching 3.5 miles in length, according to the Harbor Development Commission.
The barrier project was divided into three phases, each covering about a mile-long stretch of the barrier. The cost for the entire barrier path will be $1.5 million. The state grant will allow the city to build the first phase, Mr. Labelle said.
“When it was built, it sort of closed off the panoramic views of Buzzards Bay that every one enjoyed,” he said of the barrier.
The first phase would start next to Davy’s Locker and run up East Rodney French Boulevard to Gifford Street.
Mr. Labelle was unsure when the first phase would be complete. The city will get the money in July and try to finish as much as possible during the remainder of the construction season, he said.
City officials are negotiating the plan with the Corps of Engineers. Mayor Lang said the project is similar to public access on the Fairhaven side of the barrier.

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