Meeting Discusses Redevelopment of Whaling City Golf Course With Area-Residents
NEW BEDFORD- City Councilor Hugh Dunn met with residents of the neighborhood on Mount Pleasant Street to discuss the proposed partial redevelopment of the Whaling City Golf Course at the Holy Name of the Sacred Heart Church Hall on Wednesday night.
Briefing the neighborhood forum of what’s to come from the redevelopment, Dunn was joined by Derek Santos, Director of the New Bedford Economic Development Council (EDC). The two discussed the costs of the project and the estimated $2,000,000 in annual revenue its expected to bring the city, design plans, and the effect the redevelopment will have on traffic and the real-estate value in the neighborhood, among other factors.
After introducing MassDevelopment, the finance and development agency of Massachusetts working with New Bedford, Derek Santos explained the factors behind choosing Whaling City Golf Course for the project. Of those is what the EDC says is the potential for economic growth from an industrial site, as well as the opportunity to attract developers to nearby sites to be available in the future.
“We want to make sure we’re using all of our chances to capture new growth, in terms of building, tax revenue, and new jobs. We want to make sure that we’re able to expand to the greatest degree possible, that is our mission,” said Santos.
“There is a multiplier effect here that works for us,” he said.
Santos also informed residents of the types of businesses the EDC is targeting for development on the site. Advanced manufacturing and life science companies, as well as warehouse distribution centers are being considered, what Santos described as “clean-industries” for the project.
“Bottom-line, we’re looking for clean-industries. These are not dirty,” he explained. “We know these types of businesses are good for New Bedford.”
Area-residents were given time to ask questions, which mostly involved the traffic on Hathaway Road after completion of the site, and reducing the golf course from eighteen to nine holes.
Area resident Jim Pedro told Derek Santos and Councilor Hugh Dunn that he believes reducing Whaling City Golf Course to nine holes would be unfair to those who currently play there, especially the youth.
“My concern is the golf course. A nine-hole course won’t work for the high schools that play there. Right now you have three high schools play there in the spring and the fall. New Bedford, New Bedford Vocational, and Fairhaven."
Also introduced in the meeting was the plan to study the affect that redevelopment will have on the traffic on Hathaway Road, as well as the decision to name long time course designer Robert McNeal as the architect of the course.
Ed Starzec of MassDevelopment, Director of Parks Recreation & Beaches Mary Rapoza, and Manny Silva from the Department of Public Infrastructure joined Dunn and Santos, and stayed after the meeting to answer questions from remaining residents directly. City Councilors Ian Abreu and Steve Martins also attended the meeting.