Positive Improvements: The Future of New Bedford

The once proud whaling capital of the world has seen some rough years. With harsh winters constantly deteriorating the roads and older structures going far too long without restoration, many parts of the city were looking pretty substandard. However, rebuilding the city back to its glory days has been made a priority the past few years, and things are starting to look up.

Downtown sidewalk

So far, the renovation of Route 18 has been the biggest success stories for the city; completed ahead of schedule and within budget. Aside from repaving the road, the project also included reworking intersections and other improvements. Motorists will notice the cobblestone-like pressed cement as they drive through traffic lights, along with similarly designed red crosswalks that greatly boost the area’s appearance. Along with the updated crosswalks, many sidewalks were widened in an effort to enhance foot-traffic, making the area more pedestrian friendly. The same concept is currently being applied to part of Acushnet Avenue, an area heavily populated with businesses.

Now, the bottom of Union Street is getting in on the action. The last block of the street will be widened an additional 6 to 8 feet into a patio-style side walk in front of businesses like Sláinte and Pizans. The asphalt on this same stretch will be replaced with New Bedford’s beloved cobblestone up Route 18, along with new streetlights and trees to be planted down the sidewalk.

The Riverside Landing development also has the city buzzing with excitement. This large complex is already home to Market Basket and Taco Bell, with more new businesses to come including an urgent care facility. Not only does this create a many more jobs, but it also provides the area with an excellent place to shop. Business isn’t the only thing in the plans for the Riverside Landing; a green space dedicated to displaying public art is also in the works, making the final product one of the top shopping areas around.

downtown sidewalk 2

The old textile mills throughout New Bedford may seem to be yet another eyesore. Falling apart, these huge building went from part of the city’s economic backbone to unsightly brick buildings. Nevertheless, many of these mills have been restored and made into beautiful apartments available for rent. The latest of these comeback stories coming from the old Cliftex mill building. Now called Monomet Place, the building will be used as a mixed-income apartment complex for seniors. This revitalization movement gives the area a much improved appearance along with higher quality housing than was previously available.

With all these improvements and more to come, New Bedford has set itself on the track to success. It will take many years but these projects and proposals including the future train station site near downtown, will improve transportation, standard of living, and the overall economy for the entire South Coast.

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Jonathan Faria

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