In Support of Sensible Development at the Golf Course [SOUTHCOAST VOICES]
THIS GUEST OPINION BY:
The Regeneration Project of the New Bedford Economic Development Council—a collaborative platform that represents community, institutional, and business leaders who are committed to shaping, advocating for, and tangibly advancing strategies for sustainable and shared growth for the City of New Bedford and the region.
As a group of community leaders whose priority is to promote sustainable and transformative
economic development, we want to recognize and applaud the efforts of the New Bedford City Council and Mayor Jon Mitchell in taking the first tangible steps to advance long talked about plans to redevelop a portion of the municipal golf course for new commercial development.
The proposed 100-acre Advanced Manufacturing Campus is noteworthy to us for several reasons.
First is the notion of a sustainable master-planned development. Such an approach is forward-looking both in terms of creating more of the types of higher-paying jobs that such modern facilities employ, and that it puts New Bedford front and center as a city ready to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic into a new future. This new future will most certainly
include increased and more geographically decentralized domestic manufacturing of critical
supply chain products for health care, food supply, and other essential manufacturing that
will merge high-technology processes with skilled workers. Those workers that can be found
right here in New Bedford.
Second, this proposal will serve as a much-needed catalyst to improve Hathaway Road's
safety, usability, and aesthetic for all that travel and live in that area, specifically those close
to difficult to use intersections. While safety is paramount, a new and better designed
Hathaway Road corridor can also improve access for vehicles and pedestrians while allowing
for future growth.
And third, it appears that the private development proposed will actually ensure that one of
New Bedford’s greatest recreational assets, our 18-hole public golf course, will benefit from
much needed improvements that will be welcomed by existing golfers while inspiring new
players from all backgrounds to maybe take up the game for the first time. Why not be a
city known for having one of the best and affordable public courses in New England where
all players are welcomed?
It is also important to remind ourselves that this is a complex project, and it will take time to go through the planning, approval, and eventual development processes. We urge our elected leaders, volunteer boards, and commission members to continue the thoughtful approach taken to this point. It is always good to ask tough questions, test assumptions, and have an honest debate on all aspects of this or any significant development proposal. We trust that these combined efforts can also be executed with efficiency to allow for the best possible private sector proposal to emerge. New Bedford should only accept a plan from an experienced development team that shares our values as a community.
We understand that this proposal, or really any single project, will not change the city forever.
However, the proposed Advanced Manufacturing Campus does represent one of the best
opportunities to achieve commercial tax growth at a scale large enough to make a real difference in future municipal budgets. And it will demonstrate that we can do big, impactful, and complex things here in New Bedford, and do them well. As such, we urge everyone involved to continue to work together to get this project done for the benefit of all.
Anthony Sapienza, Co-Chair
President, New Bedford Economic Development Council
Maureen Sylvia Armstrong, Co-Chair
President, CEO & Owner, Sylvia Group Insurance
Deputy Chancellor & COO, UMass Dartmouth
Owner, E J Pontiff Real Estate
Dr. Laura Douglas
President, Bristol Community College
President, SouthCoast Community Foundation
Co-CEO, One SouthCoast Chamber of Commerce
Executive Director, Zeiterion Performing Arts Center
CEO & Owner, Not Your Average Joe’s, The Black Whale, The Whale’s Tail
Chairman, President, Greater New Bedford Industrial Foundation
Senior Vice President, Joseph Abboud
Retired, President and CEO, First Citizens’ Federal Credit Union
Managing Director, Co-Owner, Potentia Business Solutions, Moby Dick Brewery and Airport Grille
Leadership SouthCoast, Moby Dick Brewery
President & CEO, Bristol County Savings Bank
Helena DaSilva Hughes
Executive Director, Immigrants’ Assistance Center
Founder & President, INEX Advisors
CEO, Greater New Bedford Community Health Center
CEO, AHEAD, LLC
Owner, Whaling City Seafood Display Auction
President & CEO, New Bedford Whaling Museum
Owner, SERVPRO of New Bedford
President, Darnit! Inc.
CEO, Realtor Association of Southeastern MA
CEO, Edson International
President & CEO, Maritime International
CEO & President, Blue Harvest Fisheries
Executive Director, YWCA Southeastern Massachusetts
Executive Director, Marion Institute
Owner & CEO, Agent/Manager, Lite Weights Fitness, Kerry Horan Real Estate
CEO, Acorn Management
Retired, Executive Vice President, Corporate and Legal