New Bedford Water Park Might Be in Wrong Location [OPINION]
There is a new water attraction coming to New Bedford. Actually, it is already here and a surprise for the folks who live in that neighborhood.
According to WBSM, "Altitude H2O New Bedford will be a one-of-a-kind, 30,000-square foot inflatable playground on the water featuring obstacles including monkey bars, slides, trampolines, and balance beams. It plans to be open daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and will require that all participants wear park-issued life jackets, sign a waiver and attend a 15-minute safety orientation."
"Altitude H2O New Bedford is home to the largest floating aqua park obstacle course in Massachusetts" claims the company opening the park in partnership with the City of New Bedford.
But is this a safe location for the water park and is it in line with the long-term interests of the city and the residents who live in that neighborhood?
This floating fun park is in the ocean at the opening of the harbor. The waterway is currently used by multiple ferries to the islands. Private pleasure boats fill the local marinas and use that same waterway during the same time the water park is open.
Most importantly, the city of New Bedford is reliant on the revenue generated by the fishing industry and the boats that land that fish on the docks. All of those commercial fishing vessels will be traveling right past the water park.
The water park requires a signed legal waiver to use the park. But what about the legal liability for the boats traveling past the water park? There is a real potential for this project to become a hazard to the industries that use the harbor and employ thousands of local residents.
There is also an issue of increased car and pedestrian traffic in that neighborhood of beautiful homes. The residents already have to deal with drinking, drunks, and lewd and lascivious behavior on and around the beach. There are tremendous problems with illegal parking by out of town residents and a lack of respect for private property by some.
There are some real questions about the process that has allowed this project to end up in an important waterway. Did the Army Corps of Engineering have input on this matter? Did Massachusetts environmental officials render an opinion on this project?
This is a great idea and I support it, but I question whether the location is proper and if the process was all it needed to be.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.