New Bedford Light reporters Anastasia E. Lennon and Will Sennott outlined new plans for State Pier announced by the agency that manages the 8-acre, state-owned property, and reactions came pouring in.
Congratulations, skepticism, excitement, criticism … Readers had a wide variety of reactions and thoughtful commentary. Here’s a sampling of what folks are saying on Facebook:
“Well, Newport does very well with retail shops and restaurants like this on the waterfront and I’ve been going there for a lifetime! So bring it on. I’m ready to enjoy the local restaurants and retail shops. People come from all over the country in the summer. Plus the train will bring even more people. Best of luck. Nice to see New Bedford’s infrastructure kicking it up a notch! Happy New Year!”
— June Pimental, Facebook
“Newport is rich. New Bedford is not. People shop at Newport because they’re already there on vacation. They don’t go there to shop. People do not vacation in New Bedford.”
— Scott Furtado, Facebook, in response to June Pimental
“New Bedford needs this. I think it’s a great plan. To the future.”
— Tina Soares, Facebook
“Take it from a Cape Codder. The worst thing that can happen to your town is growth and development. Keep your town to yourself, for yourself. If you don’t, it fills up with Karens straight from the factory in Connecticut.”
— Gordon Steacy, Facebook
“I think that is an excellent idea and with that group it just might happen. !!! Good luck!!!”
— Jeffrey Antine, Facebook
“About time. Been thinking of this for 25 years.”
— Mike Carmo, Facebook
“Re-stitching New Bedford’s unique waterfront and city center back together seems like a great idea! Several efforts have been on the city’s re-redevelopment agenda since the “powers that be” flush with Urban Renewal Funding ripped that once organic bond apart in the 1970s. Since then there have been numerous meetings, workshops, charettes, brainstorming sessions, etc., intended to reconnect that thing which made New Bedford great, a thriving maritime industry and working waterfront.
“As I travel down Union Street I often consider removing that huge part of the State Pier Freight Terminal, that part with the large gray overhead door that totally prevents viewing the harbor. A strong visual connection is a worthwhile component of a successful redesign skeem.
“In this case reintroducing a clear line of sight from the crown of Union Street at County Street along Union all the way to the waterfront and across the harbor to the steeples of Fairhaven and wind turbines beyond. To me that would constitute good urban design. That visual connection, that line of sight along New Bedford’s city core, onto the waterfront and beyond, would demonstrate our City on a Hill’s embrace of its proud history as New Bedford advances in the 21st Century. Best wishes to these guys. Happy Holidays!”
— Stephen Mello, Facebook
“As long as I get the Dunkin Donuts franchise they can do whatever else they want!”
— Erica L Rolly, Facebook
“We should have got the casino over there if you want to talk about a huge revenue.”
— Rose M Almeida, Facebook
“Great. Great idea for New Bedford. I can’t wait.”
Elizabeth Sousa, Facebook
“Said that’s what New Bedford could use when I visited Alaska on a cruise, the old Savannah area and a few others. Waterfronts are revamped and busy.”
— Pauline Forgue Bispo, Facebook
“I like this idea because any investment into the city is great but I’d rather see them put money into East and West beach in the south end. The dock is cool but not exactly the ideal spot for fun. Which is what tourists want. There’s already plenty of buildings downtown for shopping.
“A welcome center? Please. Boring.
“People are already at the beach but there’s NOTHING. No food options. No entertainment. New Bedford could have a great boardwalk that tourists would want to go to but instead they have a beach without any food options.
“Bring the cotton candy. Bring the carnival games. Bring the street performers.
“Has anyone ever been to a Boardwalk before? They’re a ton of fun. And as long as you have a place to park (Park Place) you own the most expensive properties in Monopoly.
“The beach is your greatest asset, New Bedford. Not the smelly docks. What child wants to go to the docks? But how many children love the beach? Exactly.
“I have no clue why this isn’t already done but it just goes to show that I’m the Beach Boss.
“If you want to make money at the docks, get a fishing boat that kids can go on to learn about fishing. That would be fun and a good use of space. Maybe have a spot on land where kids can fish and learn about catch and release or catch your own fish to make for dinner tonight.”
— Scott Furtado, Facebook
“Such a great idea! Perhaps there could be an outdoor convertible performing space to showcase the artistic talent in the region!”
— Eve Rounds, Facebook
“I think it’s a great idea. It will bring in revenue to the city and be a great attraction for its people and tourists.”
— Clifton Lourenco, Facebook
“Believe it when I see it.”
— Fernando Grota, Facebook
“Missed out on that show. When the casino flew by.”
— Mike Totman, Facebook
“I thought there was an area already dedicated to off-shore wind??”
— Jon Malita, Facebook
“Money should be spent on the housing crisis.”
— Susan Barriteau, Facebook
“Another opportunity for NB leaders to raise enthusiasm for something, then either pull a switch for a lesser version than promised, or just flat out pull the rug out from under everybody. Rail, casino, aquarium, etc …”
— Darrin Ramos, Facebook
“I remember when the people turned Padanaram Village into a shopping village. But locals can’t afford their prices.”
— Lucky Wordell, Facebook
“‘Until today’s press release, no one in the public, no one in the legislature, has been privy to the documents going back and forth,” said Rep. Bill Straus (10th Bristol). “This was done entirely in the dark.’
“Seems secret deals known to a few, and some of those in key city positions, is the MO of the gentrification of New Bedford. It has been being done in unhousing people to increase rents for greater profits with, one can imagine, the palms in city hall being routinely piled with payoffs and opportunities to invest that the public is denied.”
— Joe Quigley, Facebook
“Great idea, but it should have been more transparent to the public for their input. But I don’t feel one bit sad the legislators up at Beacon Hill got their feelings hurt that this proposal was not forthcoming for their input. Because anything they get their grubby hands on turns to crap anyways. Good luck to the main players. You’re in for a fight now with the hack politicians.”
— Shaun Mulvey, Facebook
— Barbara Jerome, Facebook
“That’s a great idea!”
— Elisabete Ribeiro Tavares, Facebook
“Who really benefits the most is my question. Does this support the local folks from New Bedford who have lived here for generations? Or does this push us out? Do we want to be another Newport or Newton? New Bedford’s ethnicity is its strength. Let’s not lose us. Who are these developers coming into New Bedford? Where are they from? How much money will they make?”
— Margaret Mott, Facebook
“If you overplay your hand, with expensive stores and restaurants, it may flop!”
— Ronald Santosucci, Facebook
“It’s about time!”
— Lisa Bessette-Cardoza, Facebook
“I like what I’m hearing!”
— Stephen Perry, Facebook
“The Black Whale, Cisco’s and now the new one? Does anybody think a monopoly on seafood restaurants along the harbor is a good idea?”
— Richard Connor, Facebook
“Good idea. Bad spot. Find another one.”
— Joe Avellar, Facebook
“I personally don’t feel that we should allow one person that already has a vested interest in the area to control something like that. There’s plenty of businesses downtown that could use the tourists. Why should we keep tourists at the pier? When I owned my restaurant in downtown New Bedford years ago I always counted on the tourists coming up to Pleasant Street, especially on the weekends for breakfast. Let’s not kill the downtown to help out one greedy connected entrepreneur￼.”
— Richie Gomes Sr., Facebook
“But the traffic …”
— Jenna Lou, Facebook
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