Mayor Jon Mitchell and the New Bedford City Council have been working to increase capital investment and jobs in the city. Despite COVID-19, they have been successful.

The New Bedford City Council Finance Committee voted in favor of three new business projects on Monday night. The committee contains all members of the council, so it is a view into future action. Without a single member objecting to the projects, the final floor vote will be favorable and the city will move forward.

The blight of lower Union Street will soon be transformed from garbage to gold. The long-gone National Club building and adjacent structures will be greatly improved and kept historically correct. The project has been in the discussion and planning stages for years. Without the local government partnership, given the rules, the private investment to turn around the properties wouldn't have been possible.

The lower Union Street properties are being developed by a group led by Richard Lafrance. As the head of the Lafrance Hospitality Group, Richard owns hotels and restaurants, including some in New Bedford. He is a change-maker and an entrepreneur. He is the kind of person often forgotten when policymakers talk about creating jobs. Fortunately, the policymakers in New Bedford recognized the importance of working with a person like Richard Lafrance and his talented team.

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The vast majority of the city council recently voted in favor of Mayor Mitchell's plan to transform a parcel of city-owned land into an Advanced Manufacturing Campus on Hathaway Road. The AMC is designed to bring in tens of millions of dollars in investment, broaden the tax base, and create approximately 1,000 new jobs for the region.

In addition to the lower Union Street and AMC projects, Mitchell and the city council are working to ensure two of the largest seafood companies in the world stay in the city and expand the number of jobs they offer locally.

It is nice to see the elected officials all rowing in the same direction.

Chris McCarthy is the host of The Chris McCarthy Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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