Santos Discusses Economic Development Plans For New Bedford
A big piece of New Bedford's master plan for improved economic growth calls for attracting new businesses and industries into the city.
With that in mind a great deal of infrastructure, such as the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal, has been built or upgraded over the past few years in support of the offshore wind industry.
Derek Santos, the Executive Director of the New Bedford Economic Development Council, told WBSM's Barry Richard the industry could be a major employer and the city needs to work hard to make sure those jobs come to New Bedford.
"You're going to see hundreds and hundreds of jobs associated with each offshore wind project and the Port of New Bedford is ripe to be the premiere location for offshore wind on the East Coast of America," said Santos "and it's really up to us to make sure we're hustling everyday."
Santos other ways to generate more economic activity in the city were also explored and discussed in 2014 when Mayor Jon Mitchell called on leaders of the business community and area non-profits to hear their feedback and they made some suggestions on ways that the city could gain a greater benefit from the waterfront.
"Some ways were really interesting and exciting, like the re-use of State Pier in multiple ways to enhance cargo, but also allow for some public access," said Santos "some ways not as sexy but as important, to be quite honest, but certainly important such as dredging the harbor is an important strategy."
Santos says they also suggested making the Downtown area a regional hub and called for improved understanding of job opportunities that may exist with a more robust manufacturing sector.
However, Santos said his top priority is find ways to help the businesses that are already here.
"We want Acushnet Avenue, the South End, Downtown, the Fishing Industry, folks that are in the Business Parks, all those folks that are here now to make sure that we don't forget that those businesses are here and you really want to start with the folks that are here now," said Santos "so strengthening your base for us is really the main goal."
Santos highlighted medical device instrumentation and manufacturing as having great potential for further expansion in New Bedford and said that hospitality and tourism are also industries that have a great deal of potential.