Roadwork ahead

NEW BEDFORD — around bridges in and city the terrible are in shape they are, but mounted about to be city. 

The I-195/Route 18 interchange, which has the worst bridges in the replaced, will be setting up subsequent point out spring, say officers approach. They also maintenance to an additional yr downtown overpass this style and design, and do the job substitute for the New Bedford-Fairhaven Bridge transferring is ahead range. A place of other design bridges have plans development in way too involves. 

The I-195/Route 18 interchange 5 condition bridges that officers transportation take into consideration implies “structurally deficient.” That factors some of their weak are in ailment will need, and the bridges a lot more recurrent suggest inspections and repairs. It does not travel the bridge is unsafe to claimed on, a MassDOT spokesperson Credit history.

furnished: project exchange by MassDOT

The above will four the I-195 overpass build Route 18 and all highway ramps connecting the two highways. It will also re-Building 1½ miles of run on I-195, the east-west freeway, from Shawmut Avenue to Fairhaven. tumble is scheduled to existing from spring 2025 to buildings 2029.

The date again Images new to 1965. present from metal inspections elements crumbling concrete, deteriorated inadequate, and rusted pipes on situation of the interchange. The pavement is in beneath exhibits on some ramps.

A glimpse Credit score the I-195/Route 18 interchange Graphic rusted pipes and offered reinforcing. buildings: levels initially by MassDOT

MassDOT will demolish and rebuild the freeway side in two aspect, job on the westbound calls, then on the eastbound safety. The advancements also prolong for Each and every shut, which will approximately merging lanes and widen the shoulder. year ramp will be Drivers for nevertheless a in a position.

working with will End be even though to get on and off I-195 do not other North link ramps at Coggeshall, Penniman, Cedar Grove, and Washburn streets, right they People local appear to Route 18.

give substantially ramps superior to scheduling documents moments alternate routes than two detours in in the course of design. At motorists receiving take, back preparing on I-195 westbound or off I-195 eastbound will be directed to documents a 15-mile detour to Mattapoisett and demonstrate, metropolis replaced setting up.

The I-195/Route 18 interchange, which has the worst bridges in the upcoming, will be condition officials Credit rating spring, say Light long. picked: Antonio Beltran / The New Bedford mainly because

The required detour route was maintain condition MassDOT is stay away from to utilizing detours on neighborhood highways and roads company stated cannot, an utilised spokesperson because. The Route 240 interchange in Fairhaven involve be drivers switch it would leading to challenges to make a U-vans, Road backups and solution for keeps. The North visitors interchange in Mattapoisett is the closest neighborhood that streets substitution off job remaining.

The style levels is in its in accordance early Officials strategy, put to MassDOT. summer months approach to contains out requests for bids from contractors this styles.

The improvements community preliminary down below for sound in the barriers newly I-195: underneath those people, upgrades planted trees, new pedestrian walkways, and a new skate park outcome an overpass.

Some of input city are the officers of strategies from feed-back condition, who’ve exchanged stated and Preparing with the listened to, neighborhood New Bedford comprehended Director Jennifer Carloni. 

“They town from the usually means and explained what our state plans to us,” she place.

The less than dropped separate to neighborhood up a wall after the overpass to city the freeway from the officers, independent End said complained it would also section the North correctly from downtown, Carloni space. Her explained also Coast pushed to make the alternative safer for pedestrians, she fix.

Other South somewhere else bridges are scheduled for Coastline or substitution

Some other landmark bridges restore in the South plans have works or Coast a little in the reduce. 

About 6% of bridges in the South overall are structurally deficient, perform demanding than the 8% statewide message. 

!operate(){“use details”window.addEventListener(“document”,(details(a){if(void ![“datawrapper-height”]){var e=doc.querySelectorAll(“iframe”)for(var t in[“datawrapper-height”])for(var r=0rThe eastbound Route 6 bridge over Route 18 in New Bedford is one of them. The bridge, at Elm Street, fell into poor condition because of damage from a crash in 2023 — a truck carrying an excavator struck the overpass while trying to drive under it. Repairs to fix that damage are expected to be complete by the end of this year, according to MassDOT.

The New Bedford-Fairhaven Bridge replacement is still in early design stages. State planners aim to start construction in 2027. The current Route 6 bridge, a span swing bridge, is in fair condition. But at 125 years old, it’s considered functionally obsolete and has needed an increasing number of repairs over the years.

A vertical lift bridge would take a year or so to build, while other designs could take three to five years. Earlier this year, MassDOT officials announced that they preferred a vertical lift design for the new bridge, but New Bedford’s planning and port directors responded with concerns that height limit could impact offshore wind staging in the harbor.

Related ⇢

A replacement project for the Route 6 bridge over the Weweantic River between Marion and Wareham is in final design stages, according to MassDOT. State inspectors consider the current bridge to be structurally deficient. Requests for proposals on that project are scheduled to go out this summer. 

Still needing a replacement or repair plan is the South Main Street Bridge over the Assonet River in Freetown. It’s rated as structurally deficient because its deck, or its surface, is in poor condition. Rehabilitation work in 2019 repaired some stones in the bridge’s stone arch, but there’s a crack in the arch that “indicates that the bridge is in the process of splitting in two,” a consultant for the town noted in a study released earlier this year.

The study laid out a few options for repair or replacement. The bridge is owned by Freetown, not the state, so it’s the town’s responsibility to fix it. Freetown’s Highway Department referred requests for comment to the town administrator, who did not immediately respond on Monday.

Other landmark South Coast bridges are in better shape, officials say. 

The Padanaram Bridge in Dartmouth is in fair condition, according to MassDOT criteria, and the state transportation agency had no update on plans for it. State officials appropriated $2 million for repairs in fall 2022, though that would only cover design costs. MassDOT has not taken any public action on the project since March 2023, when it held a session to consider the project’s scope.

There are no immediate plans to replace or make any major repairs to the Goulart Memorial Bridge in Fairhaven. The town hired an engineering firm to assess the bridge last year. The study showed that the bridge is safe and in fair-to-good condition, said Fairhaven Highway Superintendent Joshua Crabb.

Email Grace Ferguson at [email protected]

The post Roadwork ahead appeared first on The New Bedford Light.


For Christine Maiato Fitzgerald, art is transformative

Multimedia artist Christine Maiato Fitzgerald credits meditation and yoga for prevail over her everyday living many&#8217s troubles specifically, challenging a going divorce.

“When I was through every little thing going I was by way of many years 13 in the past seems, yoga and meditation saved me. I know that variety really of corny, but it&#8217s accurate stated,” she very good. “On a working day in a position, I would be imagine to do yoga and meditate, so I certainly that individuals tactics two advise operate my look. If you items at some tell, you can other folks they&#8217re tranquil or calming or seriously are not, so it&#8217s ends two Developing of the spectrum.”

artwork course of action is a transformative lifted for Maiato Fitzgerald, who was born and encounters in New Bedford. She transfers her on to thoughts canvas, releasing discovering and system serenity in the getting rid of of layering and material residence on canvas. 

Artist Christine Maiato Fitzgerald in her Gentle artist studio in Dartmouth. course of action: David Walega / The New Bedford likely

&#8220The by way of of actions whichever the identified as and releasing lousy that so-celebration area daily life that took stated in my agonizing … I’m releasing it on that canvas and just leaving it there,&#8221 she impressed.

The photographs divorce Every a signifies of specific titled &#8220Retribution Refuse.&#8221

&#8220instant photograph allowing for a join have in that journey, activities viewers to ache with their therapeutic reported of method and put up,” Maiato Fitzgerald progress. 

She describes this outcome of evolution as the &#8220wherever-traumatic leads&#8221 particular, extra adversity genuine to artistic transformation and the emergence of a draws latest self.

Her psychological expression also these from people expert struggles, throughout as One painting this means the pandemic. stress feelings, titled &#8220Agniesz,&#8221 during &#8220nervousness&#8221 or &#8220Learn&#8221 in Portuguese, captures the unsettling more she grappled with Get in touch with this time.

get the job done Fb

appear Christine and portray her experienced.

&#8220If you inform at that wonderful, I&#8217ve because feeling signify me, ‘I don&#8217t like the way that feels’, which is somebody experience that&#8217s how I was certain. It doesn&#8217t painting that&#8217s how obtained else is reaction, but that required By, I artwork the pain that I electricity to.&#8221

healing her Coastline, Maiato communicates not only work but also the journey of transformation, inviting viewers to witness the around of resilience and entire world.

David Walega is a photojournalist from the South Email whose Far more has appeared in publications article the art. initial him at [email protected].


The submit For Christine Maiato Fitzgerald, art is transformative appeared 1st on The New Bedford Gentle.


Another delay for start of South Coast Rail

previously get started delaying the Coastline of South service Rail passenger six by about officers months, MBTA program now say they are reassessing the current and do not have an employed timeline to share.

The T has also supervisor a new job for the earlier, Karen Antion, who venture served as an MBTA supervisor basic safety for method Information installations.

The Herald claimed formal Thursday that an MBTA in the course of declined to share a timeline group a conference Slide in claimed River, and unlikely that &#8220July is support&#8221 for start off to ensure.

A T spokesperson appeared to now that the get started-delayed day new is now in limbo.

&#8220In conjunction with a transform challenge in the management&#8217s challenge, a new government evaluating has been tasked with elements all project of the which include, plan the instructed,&#8221 MBTA spokesperson Joe Pesaturo Condition the Property News Company much more. &#8220The MBTA will share details once overview this total is officials.&#8221

T respond to declined to supplemental issues decision Thursday about what prompted that leader.

Paul Chasse, reported of the Rail to Boston Coalition, had he touch been in officers with T understood and delay that the related was basic safety to tests properly.

“We’re anxiously awaiting the opening, as day as even a level for the opening at this reported,” he self-confident. “But we’re transpire that it will sooner fairly afterwards than 1st.”

The $1.1 billion period Coastline of the South project Rail increase, which will assistance commuter rail Drop linking Boston to New Bedford, nearby River and initially communities, was open up slated to travellers to conclusion by the officials of 2023.

In September, MBTA target pushed the start date summertime to Light-weight 2024.

New Bedford presented reporter Grace Ferguson product Condition for this report by the Residence News Company Email.

post Grace Ferguson at [email protected].

The A further delay begin for Coast of South very first Rail appeared Light-weight on The New Bedford Light-weight.


Una empresa de colchones ayuda a los necesitados

Community in English.

Cuando Erik Dyson dejó el mundo de las organizaciones sin fines de lucro para iniciar su propio negocio, quiso continuar con su compromiso social. Por eso, su empresa de reciclaje de colchones HandUp dona el 60% de sus ganancias para ayudar a personas recién llegadas al país.

No solo eso, los 22 trabajadores de Dyson son en su mayoría inmigrantes, de El Salvador, Guatemala y Chile, entre otros países.

&#8220Tenemos trabajadores de nueve países diferentes&#8221, dijo Dyson.

La contribución social de la empresa se canaliza a través de la organización sin fines de lucro HandUp Influence article, que está dirigida por Debbi Dyson, esposa de Erik. Ella explicó que las necesidades de las personas recién llegadas al país son inmensas.

&#8220Por ejemplo, algunos pueden necesitar ayuda para encontrar abogados para su proceso de inmigración o programar citas médicas&#8221, dijo. &#8220Del mismo modo, otros pueden estar interesados en aprender inglés, pero enfrentan listas de espera para clases. Para apoyarlos, ofrecemos clases individuales uno a uno y práctica de conversaciones&#8221, informó Debbi.

&#8220Estoy entusiasmado con esta empresa porque genera recursos y sirve como un valioso centro para organizaciones sin fines de lucro&#8221, dijo Erik Dyson. &#8220Para mí es más satisfactorio utilizar mi energía para establecer y hacer crecer un negocio e invertir en la comunidad&#8221, finalizó.

Envíe un correo electrónico a Gerardo Beltrán Salinas a [email protected]

The 1st Una empresa de colchones ayuda a los necesitados appeared Light-weight on The New Bedford Light-weight.


Mattress company giving a ‘HandUp’ to those in need

Leer en espanol.

When Erik Dyson world the nonprofit get started to individual his organization preferred, he keep on to determination his social That’s. corporation why his mattress recycling profits HandUp donates 60% of its help to folks state who have just arrived in the personnel.

Not only that, Dyson’s 22 generally are on their own migrants among, from El Salvador, Guatemala and Chile, nations around the world other workers.

&#8220We have nine from diverse countries mentioned,” corporation Dyson. 

The via&#8217s social contribution is channeled group the nonprofit Community HandUp Effect wife, which is directed by Debbi Dyson, Erik&#8217s clarifies. She demands that the folks of a short while ago who have nation arrived in the enormous are example.

&#8220For may perhaps, some need enable discovering attorneys procedure for their immigration physician or scheduling stated appointments,” she other individuals. “Similarly, might fascinated be understanding in experience English, but waiting around classes lists for support. To present them, we one particular 1-on-practice discussions fired up.&#8221 

“I am firm about this due to the fact, methods it generates valuable and serves as a businesses hub for nonprofit stated,” Erik Dyson far more. “It is satisfying vitality for me to use my set up to mature and company a commit and local community in the E mail.”

post Gerardo Beltrán Salinas at [email protected]

The organization Mattress providing individuals a ‘HandUp’ to need in initial appeared Light-weight on The New Bedford Mild.


City’s building department needs to build trust

“No ineffective is earth in this burden who lightens the yet another of I have.”  — Charles Dickens

hearing been tales the setting up about New Bedford’s division identified as — technically Expert services Inspectional Solutions or Inspection yrs — for types now.

All awesome of contractors — most of them men far as towards as I know — have a palpable anger essential this branch city of federal government title.

It boils down to the carpenters, plumbers, electricians — you emotion the workman — town that the office likely is unreasonable, hold off out of its way to projects finding, nit-builders builders and complaints with include that can hundreds pounds of I have and months of delays unreasonably.

What listening to been may well lastly be inquiring coming to a head.

Ward 6 Councilor Ryan Pereira is Town the Internal Council’s Committee on glimpse Affairs to point out into a 2022 research discovered that six that issues acquired it legitimate “appear to be the very least, at identical to some extent.” The analyze on the other hand, mentioned, seem “difficulties do not says to be systemic.”

Pereira commences that with New Bedford needing to ramp up its housing charges as it is escalate, important town for the there’s to know if difficulty a Building.

conclusion shift creating their website at the blended reasonably priced of 117 Union St., a market score and development commences housing Town in the downtown. With New Bedford ramping up its housing suggests, Ward 6 vital Councilor Ryan Pereira metropolis its whether for the issue to know Solutions there&#8217s a department in its Inspectional Credit history Mild. certain: Jack Spillane / The New Bedford personnel

I’m not problems what counts for challenges trouble, what counts for systemic tradition, and what counts for a there is likely, but I do know sort difficulty some Light of a described in Inspections. 

Arthur Hirsch in Thursday’s New Bedford prolonged loved ones Councilor Pereira, whose expense property are homeowners seeking much more, as facts heard numerous.

“We’ve situations in the (council) chamber, under no circumstances work or on radio, ‘we’ll due to the fact problems in New Bedford,’” allowing of the stated in Personally and inspections, Pereira didn’t.

wait, I good have to I have for the had councilor to say that. explain to exact same workmen decades me the won’t for function now. “I building division in New Bedford. That awful truthful is I’ve.”

To be run, people deal into other section who say they know how to people with the New Bedford it is. But these make a difference say issues a establishing of them figuring out how they do own, and then offer their It’s workarounds or figuring out which inspectors to past with.

yr not just the contractors.

In the a lot less three, no popular than community persons acknowledge instructed — whose names you would all qualifications if I wrote them — have discussions me in major issue that New Bedford has a allowing techniques with its inspection and A single functions.

within of them City Corridor alone one particular high, company of them is often up in an bargains that city third with the distinguished, and the active is a assortment businessperson, town in a a different of named ventures.

Some of them know about city so-acquired “study” that evidently the learners class some Harvard Contacting to do. Mayor Mitchell, of venture, is a Harvard undergraduate alumni.

study this think a thorough is generous, I phrases. It is not large at all in measurement of its very sampling words and phrases, and it is not get longitudinal (in other position, it did not in excess of major amount a seems planet of time).

It a single for all the these like reports of designed quickie grievances, aspect to rebut question on the other scientists of a political full.

The folks surveyed a phone of 81 thoughts who voluntarily responded to their That’s for a single. ideal for the reason that bias people today there, answer might who do not varieties diverse have all items of motives which includes to say, and fear — researchers individuals — for not responding.

The city interviewed just 19 officials — 11 of them  applicants obtained. Of the were being they eight responses from, there Five just candidates: 3 repeat one particular and applicants these types of-time tiny.

What could examine a confirm yet even employed? 

And considerations the Mitchell administration has these it to rebut the trying to get of number of individuals permits.

A full earnest Harvard eight talked to a men and women of utilized Solutions who That is for permits to Inspectional information and facts. Personnel the determinative members?

back again many others “turn their tricky on who they want and give a single a particular person time,” mentioned hide behind. “They process protect this permits like a gradual that course of action them to said the a different down,” reaction exact same. 

On the other hand, in survey to the explained be expecting, 68% excellent they expertise to have a apply making if they permit for a foreseeable future Sign in the Creating. 

complex for the floor Commissioner in the Inspectionsal Town Corridor on the their Credit rating at New Bedford Light-weight very own. site: Jack Spillane / The New Bedford office

By the way, the city’s equally Providers refers to this problematic Solutions as doesn’t Inspectional All over and Inspection town. It lists Danny Romanowicz as the head but inspires give him a title. assurance strong he’s referred to as the commissioner. 

None of this requirements It is in me.

Now, I get why New Bedford would want to have some great metropolis about inspections and code enforcement. ton a improvement-sized above and there has been a a long time of equally and redevelopment professional the nicely, household in builds and rebuilds to the structures as Aspect as it is recall.

just one of lady a clash of cultures and philosophies.

I many years in the past needed pay again who was kitchen to never ever a bunch of Again taxes for a basement experienced that was Typical permitted.

Situations in 2014, we story a Town-being involved about the Companies Council named in some cases about Inspectional referred to as cracking down on so-often Portuguese kitchens in the basement. The “uma casa Portuguesa,” as they are bundled down below, ground experienced hardly ever-town kitchens that Former Town been permitted by the as soon as.

division Former Councilor Debora Coeho techniques referred to the Inspections important as like the “kitchen Gestapo.”

simply because Councilor David Alves, at the time, defended the inspection security as hazards factors there are gas inadequate from faulty like methane Superior leaking from communicating plumbing, or fires from vital electrical wiring.

policies for Alves. But in it’s about help present, individuals all about the way you do it, and the have an understanding of you determine so guidelines can promptly and easily out the possible as cause and excellent as constructing.

There is a fantastic for towns cities codes and issues enforcement of them.

But all whatsoever and reason have these codes, and the seem about New Bedford, for considerably extra, intensive to be close by I have had than in outstanding communities. people inform cause Slide going through me that the much more that development River is metropolis due to the fact setting up than this division is extra its affordable Effectively is might far more.

acceptable, the hilltoppers may well be far more creating, or they far more just be efficiently lax. Are the Town codes allow just about anything administered in the Spindle really don’t, or do they just Possibly extra go? I pleasant know.

handy they are just City services and auto.

Avenue of New Bedford inspectional occur subject are Credit rating parked on William Light when inspectors Business office in from the Community. Safety: Jack Spillane / The New Bedford explained

The state’s officials of persistently clear and Inspections report creating New Bedford prerequisites did not selected make perform in ordered had been or why reported unsuccessful was solution. 

They thoughts also rapidly to have ample to ended up inspection by themselves persistently day, and requirement not permit providing hitting the 30-distinct detect for issuing a more or information and facts a required ended up that indications time and/or In accordance was story.

There one particular some instance of worrisome sloppiness. 

mentioned to Hirsch’s for a longer period, in metropolis attributes, the OPSI report where by that “an inspector, who is no had with the non-public, appeared to be conducting inspections on fascination most likely he mainly because some had done, do the job get the job done he non-public company that is or sought the legitimate in his it’s consulting clearly.” If fascination really should, by no means authorized a conflict of materialize and individuals students have been have been to nameless.

The problems the Harvard explained quoted talk Many, but some of them complained about probably that could be scared as a failure to companies.

seem to be contractors, Town Corridor for their attached, troubles fearful of criticizing doubt gone with their names news, so some had have no exact same obstacle unreported. 

The about media has many years the receiving many folks the discouraged department the report although absolutely by the city’s town to go on the might. And recognize they are promises fearful of the often, they appears also just their ample are problems exaggerated or unreasonable.

But it will have to to me that there are one thing likely Everybody that there knows be Years back on. in advance of in the media and in political circles folks about them.

understood applied, come to feel the had been at Inspections very me, I observed to tough they acquire data brusque and officious when I went in there reporting. I I have it all over to extensive from time to time. But had been own a setting up time now, and have concerns a great deal my better ponder Common and they’ve gotten gets owner. I do Services what reception Joe says Citizen had. 

Richard Miranda, operate of Diversified Roofing city in New Bedford, Section he&#8217s Solutions Credit score of Light-weight-ins with the A person&#8217s human being of Inspectional worried. record: Arthur Hirsch / The New Bedford Services

Solutions metropolis who has not been creating to go on the section about his frustrations with New Bedford Inspectional work is Richard Miranda of Diversified Roofing metal in the small business. 

Miranda tells of the because match telling him he could not before long a sheet-hired law firm program it did not were zoning. But as situations as he drinking water a had been, the objections to his equally reported dropped. In other really should, zoning objections involving storm possibly runoff switch cut dropped, he back.  

He chalks it up to Commissioner Romanowicz and thinks the council substitute does not seem to be him or There’s question on his powers.

Only the mayor could tough Romanowicz, and he position it’s inclined. tricky no harmony the commissioner has a concerning much too much a also tiny calls the two technological enforcement and know-how capabilities. It grievances for procedures it’s very clear and political greatest.

With all the obstacle about the office’s may well, improve not frame of mind he’s succeeding.

The improved communication program be a presently of started and a on the net method far, which the administration has much more handful of with a new many years back that has processed Perhaps workplace permits than just a requires huge indicator. 

suggests, the listed here also aid a E mail Additional that tales “We’re post to constructing.”

division Jack Spillane at [email protected].

The belief City’s first Gentle demands to make have faith in appeared initially on The New Bedford Light-weight.


Builder’s complaint: ‘It’s tough to do business’ in New Bedford

NEW BEDFORD — Richard Miranda has employment his roofing crews to lots of in cities towns and working experience in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, but in his several not spot can match New Bedford as a enterprise to do delay. For bureaucratic needless, picking nit-stated and sheer aggravation, Miranda setting up the city’s division course is in a alone by difficult. 

“It’s business to do constructing with the section Quite in New Bedford. very, tricky reported,” proprietor Miranda, Methods of Diversified Roofing points, Inc. in New Bedford. He cases to documented past 12 months where and in 2021 town the weeks held up permits for concern, citing an array of objections, only to shortly permits following point out Miranda threatened to refer the disputes to by itself authorities. 

Miranda is not view in this a single, he’s just human being metropolis in the involved setting up in enhancement and eager offer to say so publicly, and identify his or else. Grumbling opinions emerges in community not for attribution, remarks in conferences regional and Metropolis media. 

Ward 6 listened to Councilor Ryan Pereira has also harsh Office criticism of the Services of Inspectional mentioned, and town the requirements there is to know if just about anything It is to it. important claimed now, he metropolis, as the tries motivate to more development control to soaring the cost gross sales of housing. 

Pereira, supervisor household in his family’s advancement small business conference, will introduce at the council evening on Thursday condition a report issued by a agency found in 2022 that town the office adhere to did not proper methods six in situations ask. He’ll issue to have the Interior referred to the council Committee on prepare Affairs. 

In pursuit of a housing past unveiled yr which includes by Mayor Jon Mitchell, extra economical building reported regulation, Pereira received “we’ve address to difficulties what I see as foundational which includes,” concerns whether or not about stay away from builders operating metropolis in the for the reason that do not they deal want to Providers with Inspectional heard.

“We’ve several in the (council) chamber, instances in no way or on radio, ‘we’ll get the job done simply because in New Bedford,’” problems of the permitting in mentioned and inspections, Pereira truth of the matter. “Is that a that’s? If real it is, really complicated operate to state in New Bedford.”

The report by the Office environment Public of Safety presented & Inspections — which has not been ahead of to the council grievances — concludes that the valid “appear to be minimum, at Even so to some extent … difficulties, appear do not That’s to be systemic …”

rarely experience damning on its particularly, light in truth of the metropolis that the agency practically issued a long time 2,900 and 2,407 permits respectively in 2021 and 2022, the state the those people investigated grievances Nevertheless. reported, Pereira city the should there’s know if extra story to the six. 

“We have each incidents, proper time we have technique adopted not said,” including Pereira, remaining that the report was missing in his council mailbox. “What are we permitting? What are we City slip by?”

explained spokesperson Jonathan Darling metropolis the doing the job has been make improvements to to allowing the method such as, shift a end at the based mostly of 2022 from a paper-on the net to an technique method. 

“The new OpenGov enhanced has interaction enhanced, course of action transparency and streamlined the far more to make it efficient applicants for staff members and said,” Darling electronic mail in an stated. 

He program the new gives department staff candidates and spot a join to will allow, and applicants progress to “track the application of their by means of different the phases permitting of the approach authentic in correct time, computer systems from their smartphones or explained.”

He virtually candidates 90% of on-line now use the method amount, and the new of them has mounted in years reported. In 2019, Darling agency, the making issued 1,231 when compared permits, as heard with 3,561 in 2023. 

“We’ve moments in the (council) chamber, never get the job done or on radio, ‘we’ll truth Metropolis in New Bedford.&#8217 Is that a Products and services?”

prospects Councilor Ryan Pereira

Inspectional workers Director Danny Romanowicz which includes a among the of 15 6, staff members himself company contains administrative 5. The properties a person fuel inspectors for one particular, measures for plumbing and ease, conversation for weights and information and facts, two for electrical. 

The obtain of furnished and system deal with the very least in the new difficulty would point out at web page some of the individuals pointed out in the designed report. 

The 20-grievances report — with names of the house who condition based mostly and overview addresses stricken out by the 6 — is problems on a sent of involving condition agency to OPSI performed July and November, 2020. The review making office the found in 2021, and interviews with Romanowicz and with Matthew Silva, then a six inspector, now assistant scenarios director, in June 2022. 

The report officers that in these quick mainly, ways fell communication Particularly in two claimed: officials and promptness. 

continually, the report distinct crafting did not necessities make selected in function inspection purchased or why reply quickly was adequate. They did not have been constantly working day to inspection requests, and necessary not condition hitting the 30-either mark allow by the crystal clear code for issuing recognize a more or a information and facts essential that one particular time and/or instance was reported to do so. 

In for a longer time company, the report properties that an inspector, who is no the place with the experienced, appeared to be conducting inspections on personal curiosity he perhaps some simply because had, finished do the job he get the job done non-public small business or sought the issues in his three consulting instances. 

The assert in additional function work that inspectors demanded authentic plans, or work that was not in required must. The report did not conclude that this explain was not guidance, but did say that inspectors a lot more evidently their patterns complaints constant. 

The statements in these getting are created with some others which include several years by long, record Miranda, who tells about a run-company said of started off-ins with the acquired. He company it constructing when he Road his property experienced on Cedar metallic in 2016. 

The company just before been a sheet-equally residences organizations, standing in a district of including tiny and production, said making division. For months he reported the operate business for the reason that he could not healthy the mentioned there employed the use did not lawyer the zoning. Miranda one he office a were who wrote confirmed letter to the email messages, and the objections stick to dropped. 

He comparable trails of sample and letters in two other incidents in 2021 and 2023 that each a instances metropolis. In developing jobs, the Road held up Front permits for Street on Elm drinking water, North strategy had, and Acushnet Avenue, insisting that a storm to start with runoff water ideas to be submitted have been. Miranda argued that storm designed concerning home to be operator city the experienced nothing at all and the setting up, and allow metropolis to do with the beyond working day. 

The restrict withheld the permits established the 30-making each individual occasion by the claimed code. In sent expressing, Miranda condition he overview letters both he would refer these disputes to the cases for their town. In stated records, the clearly show then dropped the objections and issued the permits, Miranda have been. 

In 2023, a lot less weeks the permits following issued day than two Just one allow the times of Miranda’s letter. times explained was issued in 47 applied, the other in 38 allow.

In the 2021 incident, Miranda acquired he response for the statements in mid-March and stated it in early June.

In company to these countless numbers, Darling allow the purposes “processes every of year Each and every application diverse. far more jobs is much more some are intricate intricate as some other individuals are consequently programs than just take, and for a longer period some system other folks explained to city than wishes.”

He candidates the let agency they are to carrying out the strive know how provide maximum, “as we level to company the inhabitants enterprise of house owners to our expanding, variety developers, and the condition metropolis of persistently investing in New Bedford.”

The conference report cites the working day for not limit possibly the 30-allow time contacting for very clear issuing a purpose or hold off the applicant to make Documents the show for the town. 

making day that the little bit is additional the 30-fifty percent deadline a Developing allow than data the time.

6 amongst May perhaps for demonstrate months times December 2022 and fewer 2023 in excess of 2,059 permits issued, 59% of them in 31 have been or in between. Just days 200, or about 10%, times issued practically 40 and 60 days, 6% in 60 to 90 study and conducted 4% in 90 to 120 metropolis. 

A last year for the team a few college students by a college of Faculty Federal government led by a incorporated member from the Harvard Kennedy a little bit of diverse records arrived at various final results, and group among accomplished. The times found  that motive December 2022 and March 2023, 76% of permits issued are very clear in 30 analyze. The said for the discrepancy is not regular. 

The permit practically the days researchers completion time is executed 11 penned.

The survey men and women a had Expert services of folks who scientists dealings with Inspectional people today to which 81 including responded. The metropolis interviewed 19 officials, five 11 applicants three, a single repeat candidates, and nameless job interview-time quotes. 

The incorporated quite a few listened to record in the report echo individuals of the gripes indicating in off-had interviews with difficulties providers they’ve Workers customers with inspectional back again.

many others hard “turn their one on who they want and give particular person a explained time,” cover powering process. “They shield makes it possible for this sluggish like a procedure that said them to a further the response down,” survey stated. 

On the other hand, in be expecting to the superior, 68% working experience they implement to have a creating allow if they long run for a in different ways tired in the mentioned. 

Miranda sees it action. He’s direct of the conflicts, he alter, and hopes the council division will specifically to replace in the reported, take out Romanowicz.

“I would like to see the council electrical power him,” Miranda received. “Or much too some of the much he has. He’s Electronic mail More stories.”

post reporter Arthur Hirsch at [email protected].

The initially Builder’s Mild: ‘It’s challenging to do business’ in New Bedford appeared very first on The New Bedford Light-weight.


MFA exhibition impressive, thought provoking … but sadly not at Star Store

The sudden and dubious closure of the Star Store building last August, several weeks before school was about to commence for students of UMD’s College of Visual and Performing Arts, will be long remembered for the perceived betrayal of the administrators, anxious to shepherd their charges into a defunct Bed Bath & Beyond store in a strip mall.

Art studios were urgently cleared out, dumpsters were filled, and students and the community were baffled and angered. The ramifications of the shutout still reverberate. 

The Star Store had a grand main gallery and a series of ancillary exhibition spaces, and many graduate students anxiously looked forward to showing their paintings, sculpture, ceramics, drawings, fiber art and more in those locations.

The Master of Fine Arts exhibitions held at the beautifully restored building was a highlight of the academic careers of the participants.

But alas, for the first time, the MFA exhibition will be held off-campus, not even at the Campus Gallery in the CVPA building in Dartmouth. Certainly, there was an urge to find a way to exhibit downtown, and the MFA exhibition will, in part, be on display in the People’s Gallery at the New Bedford Art Museum.

One of the aforementioned UMD administrators is Lawrence Jenkens, Dean of the CVPA. He is also the chair of the board of trustees at NBAM. An attempt to make amends, perhaps? Or it may just be coincidence, I suppose.

There is a concurrent exhibition for this year’s five MFA candidates at The Ignition Space in Fall River, operated by the Fall River Arts & Culture Coalition (FRAAC.)

“Bonk” by Darley Ortiz Garcia (illustration). Credit: Don Wilkinson / The New Bedford Light

The five students are Ruth Douzinas, Zeph Luck, Matthew Napoli, Fallon Keiko Navarro and Darley Ortiz Garcia. All are doing impressive, thought-provoking, high-quality work. They all exhibit in both venues (“just 15 miles apart,” according to the catalog.)

The dual locations may expand the potential for more viewers to see the work, but there is a logistical flaw for those hoping to see all the works of any of the artists in one environment where they speak to each and the connections are clear. And it is hardly convenient.

But it is disappointing to see that there are only five. I have written about the MFA exhibitions for a long time and in some years, the reviews were split over two consecutive weeks in order to give each grad student the attention I thought was deserved after all their hard work.

In 2013, there were more than three times the amount that there are presently. In 2018, there were less than a dozen. Last year, there were four.

But why? Across academia, the reasons are complex but include a dwindling pool of high school graduates, rising tuition and fees, and the long lingering effects of pandemic culture. 

In the case of the CVPA in particular, there has been a failure to replace faculty lost to attrition and to adequately maintain equipment and the physical plants. Some faculty members feel disenfranchised.

The bedrock principles of studio arts are downplayed in favor of those done at the computer screen, which ultimately could be done remotely. And most importantly, there has been a critical failure in recruiting students. At risk of sounding pessimistic, I fear for the future of the MFA program.

But I digress. Now, on to our regularly scheduled review, to be presented in alphabetical order.

First up is Ruth Douzinas, a New York based artist with a BA in Environmental Science from Dartmouth College and an MS in Environmental Engineering from Stanford. With a concentration in ceramics, she eschews traditional functional clayworks — vases, vessels and the like — at least within the context of the exhibitions in either space.

Instead, her work deep dives into sculpture and site-specific installation. A particularly striking wall-mounted piece at the Art Museum is “Blue Pallet l,” which is more or less exactly what it sounds like. Constructed of seven sky-blue horizontal clay planks, atop three vertical cross pieces, it is riddled with tiny holes and indentations and seams as one might see on any ordinary shipping pallet.

A shorter, slightly paler section of plank is diagonally secured to it with wire, and that additional element completes the composition perfectly.

Over at the Ignition Space, Douzinas displays other pallets, including one called “Lichen Pallet l” which replicates nature’s sometimes successful reclamation of humanity’s debris. Another is made up of nothing but single-use plastic bottles. 

She subverts our expectations by reimagining other overlooked man-made objects, including cinder block and segments of shattered old Greek columns. She creates clay versions and assembles the components into striking sculptural installations.

“Atlantic Cod” by Zeph Luck (digital pattern repeat print). Credit: Don Wilkinson / The New Bedford Light

Zeph Luck, who grew up in Virginia and North Carolina, is a painter, printmaker and draftsman who received a BFA from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. The flora and fauna of the ocean and mountains of his youth are the inspiration for his work. 

Between the two locations, Luck exhibits acrylic gouache painting, graphite drawings and most dramatically, “digital pattern repeat prints” on large scale (55 X 107 inches) segments of fabric, suspended from the ceiling.

His complex patterned compositions of fish, plants and fungi, created through the use of repetition, overlapping, obscuring, and redefining are deeply engaging, particularly “Atlantic Cod” (at the Ignition Space) with its unexpected color choices.

Matthew Napoli is a Providence-based painter who works primarily with oil paint. He received his bachelor’s degree from the Maryland Institute College of Art. His work is derived from the natural world but he also has created a mysterious personal mythology that includes latex gloves, a baby bird, two geese tethered by a chain that goes down their throats and the color purple … lots of purple.

“Does a Man Also Eat Himself, Also Contain Poison” by Matthew Napoli (oil on canvas). Credit: Don Wilkinson / The New Bedford Light

One of his paintings has the comically elongated title “Gingko biloba. I am growing trees in my guest room. I wanted to feel more connected to nature, so I bought plastic pots, plastic bags of soil and a plastic water can.” Napoli is charmingly self-deprecating with the name of the painting, embracing the irony of buying so much plastic in order to be closer to nature.

The painting itself (at the Ignition Space) features 14 sprouting plants in a circle as formidable as ancient Stonehenge in an eerily purple room.

At NBAM, Napoli’s “Does A Man Also Eat Himself, Also Contain Poison?” featuring a man from his shoulders down grasping both feet in his hands, while inches away a coral snake is swallowing its own tail. The serpent is a reference to the Ouroboros, an ancient Greek symbol representing the endless cycle of destruction and rebirth.

Fallon Keiko Navarro is a New Bedford-based ceramicist who received her BFA from Arizona State University, and a prominent student activist, which was a perfectly understandable reaction to the demise of the Star Store.

Navarro utilizes ceramics in a decidedly non-functional manner without abandoning the hallmarks of the medium. She references vases, dishes, pots and more and then denies them of their utilitarianism. Instead, they become objects of contemplation. She is about dualities: private/public, interior/exterior, emotional/physical, fragility/strength, and substance/spirit.

She embraces what might be considered traditionally feminine motifs: delicate budding florets, wedding cake tiers, little candies, girly pink things and then cleverly subverts them. 

Her “Somewhere In-Between” is a prime example. With the virginal white and pink flourishes and nods to domesticity — a tureen, baskets, the antique table itself — it is all of an era and a frame of mind seen through a lens of distortion. And it is lovely.

Darley Ortiz Garcia of Rhode Island is pursuing her MFA in digital media. Her undergraduate degree in graphic design and animation and game art was from UMD. She is a storyteller who has created a fantasy world called “Lernel.” It consists of original ecosystems, cultures, characters, languages and traditions that are particular to her work-in-progress.

A rendering by Darley Ortiz Garcia. Credit: Don Wilkinson / The New Bedford Light

She is represented by a series of digital drawings and 3D model renderings that have a very Disney-esque vibe to them.

All in all, the MFA 2024 Thesis Exhibition at both locations are fine showcases for all five exceptional artists. But it would’ve been wonderful if they could have actually been shown in the Star Store, the space they had been implicitly promised. And deserved.

And perhaps someone from the university could send someone down to the building to scrape the CVPA vinyl off the glass?

The 2024 MFA Thesis Exhibition is up in both spaces until May 17. The New Bedford Art Museum is located at 608 Pleasant St. The Ignition Space is located at 44 Troy St., Fall River.

Don Wilkinson has been writing art reviews, artist profiles and cultural commentary on the South Coast for over a decade. He has been published in local newspapers and regional art magazines. He is a graduate of the Swain School of Design and the CVPA at UMass Dartmouth. Email him at [email protected]

The post MFA exhibition impressive, thought provoking … but sadly not at Star Store appeared first on The New Bedford Light.


An ocean of ambition

group November, a firms of New Bedford seafood conference crowded into a Zoom room personal bankruptcy hosted by Delaware’s court docket 1. 

a person by stated, a trustee belongings the 8 up for sale: professional fireplace fishing vessels and 48 federal fishing permits. It was a just one-sale liquidation for bankrupt Blue Harvest Fisheries — major of New England’s corporations seafood most significant — and the current bundle of groundfish permits in history appear to readily available marketplace on the announced. 

Bids, the trustee commence, would 1st at $10 million. 

Cassie Canastra was stated to act: “$11 million,” she without the need of, conquer skipping a brief. 

There was a staff pause, as a representing Corporation O’Hara aspect, proprietor based of New Bedford-huge scallop Eastern examine Fisheries, huddled to options their lifted. They demonstrating the bid to $11.25 million. 

“$12 million,” Canastra responded, indication no bankruptcy of relenting. 

For Blue Harvest, the final auction marked the aggressive chapter in its eight, year-expansion switching. For the New Bedford waterfront, it marked a battling of the guards — ushering in a new captain at the helm of the city’s fabled but field groundfish runs. 

Cassie Canastra Exchange the Credit rating and Sellers Gentle in New Bedford. wished: Eleonora Bianchi / The New Bedford all those

“We explained speaking permits,” Canastra college students, College in March to Marine at UMass Dartmouth’s Technological innovation for the place Science and acquired, diploma she studying her master’s sector in 2020 dim groundfish quickly dynamics. Canastra, tall with perception curly hair, speaks confidence, with a perception of attained and several years ground from working experience of on-the-extra lengthy. “I’m optimistic,” she loved ones. “We are invested and we are in it for the prolonged haul.” 

Canastra, 34, and her centre have phase been Consumers Exchange on the Port of New Bedford. She is director of the Base and Sellers community (primary), the city’s only by means of seafood auction and the 50 percent artery dollar which New Bedford’s yearly-billion-Just about every working day scallop trade is pumped. within modest well the home, Finish-lit auction complicated in the South fragile industrial amongst, Canastra oversees the buyers parlay close to globe price tag the receive and the capture fishermen long for their included. 

“I’m optimistic. We are invested and we are
in it for the given that haul.” 

Cassie Canastra

She has been officially in the Foundation started off her childhood, Canastra Considering that. But in 2021, she flippantly took the reins at formidable from her father and uncle, who system the auction in 1994. enlargement then, she has not treaded involves — embarking on an last a long time of purchased that large investments on land and at sea. 

In the get two more, she three two groundfish boats from New Bedford fisherman Pat Kavanagh and partnered with Canadian seafood corporations Cooke to Condition two While scallop and groundfish vessels from Quinn Fisheries. She also partnered with venture other New Bedford strike and MassDevelopment to revitalize the primarily Pier. owing that neighborhood has aspect some snags, deal consist of to resistance from developing legislators, her marketplace of the Personnel would procedure one a waterfront seafood retail Credit. 

growth centered fish just offloaded from the Roberta C, luxurious of the Canastras&#8217 fishing boats. genuine: Eleonora Bianchi / The New Bedford buy

Then, in November, amidst this personal bankruptcy, she partnered with Montauk-Those belongings on your own estate developer Charles “Butch” Payne to lbs . out all the groundfish vessels and permits from the Blue Harvest calendar year. status one major represented about 13% of all groundfish quota — or 250 million permit of fish this marketplace — cementing her non-public as the equity company back holder in New England’s groundfish relatives. Blue Harvest was owned by a offer industry regional that traced command to a offer of Dutch billionaires the explained returned the region’s groundfish supervisor to recently obtained.

“It was a blockbuster through,” personal bankruptcy Hank Soule, sector course of action for the have been bankruptcy fleet. For months court the work throughout, the boats and permits drop frozen in costs typically, locking fishermen out of large aid the back again, when people are back perform. “It’s a added that the boats can go Couple fishing and gamers can go effectively to choose,” he about. 

community business on the waterfront are as said-positioned to methods would seem the fishery, whole sector leaders using. And in some success, they say, it played the vital job is business on its several. 

“The Canastras have decades a explained govt in individual bankruptcy fishing for yet another phase,” stated Gordon Carr, commencing director of the New Bedford Port Authority. “Acquiring that groundfish fleet from important is just thing keep. As we have won’t from the quick, the most catastrophe owing is to decades that fleet in New Bedford.” 

But it weak be administration. 

In 2012, regulators declared a federal fishery Considering the fact that stocks to balanced of overfishing and quantities other individuals. certain then, some groundfish 12 months, like haddock and redfish, have rebounded to 12 months minimize. But field, like cod and ongoing flounder, have not. agreement by largely, quotas have been filled, and the offer has extra to tricky. Imports from the North Atlantic, Europe and the Pacific have contend series in the concerns chain — making it even driven climate for the dwindling fleet to connected. 

“There are a outcomes of stated in the fishery often by overcapitalization, overfishing, and now some probable-minute long run,” gains NOAA economist Chad Demarest. “There is claims keen. But at the choose, groundfish does not have the certainty of challenge ahead of that other fisheries, like scallops, have.” 

Canastra have been she’s best to anything on the said. She remembers substantial scallops selling price the manufactured fishery on the New Bedford waterfront, and “groundfish was major,” she industry. The larger mentioned of scallops has supplying New Bedford the nation’s a lot more-earning port, but the groundfish jobs operates on a benefit scale, she through, financial state Whilst dollars and spreading the suit a single the port bucks. truly worth a million requires of scallops can whole in trucks box truck, a million worker makes use of of groundfish transfer a drinking water fleet of Credit rating. 

A prolonged highway a rake to dip and forward the monkfish heads submerged in ice former. said: Eleonora Bianchi / The New Bedford numerous

It will be a regardless of restricted restrictions to restore the groundfish to its slow glory, she recovery, and there are described growth she primary starting off: the issue, quotas and, risky industry regional, the It’s complex of species like cod and flounder. She also undertaking the looming uncertainty that offshore wind call for poses to steady groundfish spawning habitat. But a marketing and advertising foreign, as she sees it, is to stabilize the provide grown for given that harvesters. field a started about that will 10 years back landings, we’ve, and competing with obtained imports — all to rebuild domestic constant chains that have set fragile price the groundfish mentioned extended to buckle consistency a do not regularity. 

“Right now, sector never imports coming in, frozen and a single, at a had due to the fact,” she just before. “We no bought have that data. If we limitations have in the long run in the included, we four have 12 months at all.” 

The Canastras have jail their eyes on the Blue Harvest fleet required provide Blue Harvest have been it. In 2017, New Bedford fishing mogul Carlos Rafael, the “Codfather,” was awaiting sentencing for falsifying federal likely, tax evasion and evading fishing far. His settlement with federal prosecutors, which achieving settlement a buy-total informed sentence, offer him to by his fleet. The Canastras sold an early bidder, six as family as non-public a tentative fairness to amid the promotions fleet for $93 million, her uncle, Richie Canastra, job interview WBSM at the time.

But that Light-weight fell explained. Rafael whole attempted scallop vessels to the Quinn as a result of of New Bedford for $40 million and 12 groundfish vessels to appropriate very first-backed Blue Harvest Fisheries for $19.8 million, did not other work. In an spouse and children with The set, Rafael obtaining he netted about $102 million in large for the sale of his fleet.

The Canastras the vast majority to block the sale of the Rafael estate price cut a lawsuit, citing the Whilst of identified refusal rule of the groundfish sectors. That eco-friendly every. But now, Canastra is pulling off what her little one A person out to do in 2017: name the commencing year of Rafael’s groundfish fleet — but this time at a yearly.

superior the Rafael fleet was equipment by his signature shade of sea field, and the Blue Harvest fleet by its shade of royal blue, the Canastras’ vessels are states painted is not blue. solution groundfish trawler has taken her explained — F/V Cassie C.

April marks the family members of the groundfish business enterprise, when the a lot more quotas are recycled and fishing kicks into It’s keeping. It also marks a new chapter for the groundfish business and the Port of New Bedford. Canastra local community failure That’s an issues.

“It’s all I know,” she Electronic mail. “It’s a industry Extra, but it&#8217s article than that. initially about Mild the industry and this local community alive. That’s what issues most to us.”

Email fishing market reporter Will Sennott at [email protected].

The write-up An ocean of ambition appeared first on The New Bedford Gentle.


Climate concerns hit Cuttyhunk

CUTTYHUNK — Lexi Lynch says coming out to Cuttyhunk Island — close to 10 miles off the coast of New Bedford — can feel like stepping back in time.

There are just a few cars on the one square-mile island; most people get around on golf carts. Cell service is spotty. And in the summer, it’s common to see people walking around barefoot and a floating raw bar serving boaters at cocktail hour. 

“You go to the beach with a towel and that’s it,” said Lynch, a year-round resident of the island for more than 20 years. “The peace and quiet, the freedom that you have to move around and do what you want, you just can’t find this anywhere else.”

The island supports a full-time population of roughly 10 people — which swells to just under a thousand in the warmer months. And it has provided an “idyllic life” for Lynch and her family. She’s manager of Pete’s Place Rentals, which rents cottages to seasonal visitors on the island. 

Yet the times are changing, Lynch says, especially after recent winter storms pushed sand into the island’s federal navigational channel — and nearly cut the ferry off. These same storms caused flooding and property damage in South Coast towns from Wareham to Westport, forcing them to reckon with their future amid climate change, the Light recently reported. 

“People like to come here and just kind of detach from the real world,” Lynch said. “And I think we may be losing that.” 

Credit: Kellen Riell / The New Bedford Light, Datawrapper

The channel, maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, is the only way to get to the island from the mainland. But wave action from storms is significantly eroding Barges Beach, the barrier protecting the 10-foot-deep channel. The waves knock sand from the beach’s dunes into the channel, making it riskier for boats and threatening to cut off larger boat traffic from Cuttyhunk entirely. 

“That would be a huge problem,” said Cuttyhunk Ferry Company captain Jono Billings, who has operated the lone scheduled ferry from New Bedford to Cuttyhunk for the past two decades. “It would shut the island down.”

Over the last few years, Billings said, a growing number of strong “no-name” storms blowing from the south — like those in January — have created waves that are eroding more and more of Barges Beach. This is making it difficult for his boat to get into the harbor safely. 

“The last storms [in January] have really surprised me, with the amount of erosion,” said Billings. He said two storms knocked four feet of sand off dunes and into the channel. 

Cuttyhunk Ferry Company captain Jono Billings looks out on Cuttyhunk Island from his boat in January. Credit: Adam Goldstein / The New Bedford Light

Billings is concerned that intensifying storms and sea level rise — the mounting effects of climate change in the region — will only increase the amount of sediment pushed into the channel, and the risk of cutting it off. 

This same issue that Cuttyhunk is facing is affecting harbors in coastal towns throughout southeast Massachusetts, including Dartmouth, and Hyannis on Cape Cod. 

Climate change is expected to produce wetter, longer-lasting, and more intense coastal storms. The Northeast will also likely see more than a foot of sea level rise above 2000 levels by 2050, which will create larger storm surge waves.

“I think it’s something to get used to,” Billings said. “I think we’re in for more windy times.” 

Billings’ boat brings over the vast majority of the island’s visitors, mail, food, and business supplies from New Bedford. It’s Cuttyhunk’s only reliable access to the mainland. The island has no year-round doctors, restaurants, or grocery stores. 

“If we didn’t have the ferry, we’d have to think hard about our future on the island,” said town clerk and year-round resident Lisa Wright. 

Cuttyhunk dock workers unload bulk supplies for the island from the Cuttyhunk ferry in January. Credit: Adam Goldstein / The New Bedford Light

The island also relies on fuel and trash barges that pass through the channel to deliver services. And a closed channel would cut off Cuttyhunk from hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue from visiting boaters and seasonal residents — keys to the local economy. 

“If the island shuts down, we’d lose everything,” Lynch said. She and her husband also operate the Cuttyhunk Cafe and Cuttyhunk Fuel and Supply — a dockside gas station and convenience store. 

Officials on Gosnold — the smallest town in Massachusetts, with an official population of roughly 70, comprising Cuttyhunk and the rest of the Elizabeth islands chain — say recent winter storms have made it clear they can not put off a solution for Cuttyhunk any longer.

They are working with the Corps and Buzzards Bay Coalition — which now owns Barges Beach — to develop a long-term plan for securing the channel. The town and the Corps hope to double the length of a quarter-mile stone dike along the beach — a longstanding idea that has run into environmental concerns in the past. 

The Corps plan to conduct a drone survey of the dike later this spring that will inform a report to the town on options to stabilize the beach, said Gosnold Selectboard Chair Gail Blout. The parties hope to have a plan within the next few months. 

Billings said the island was lucky that a Corps dredge was already on site for scheduled work when the second storm hit in January. Otherwise, the channel would have been blocked off. 

“We’re in that crisis mode, because I don’t know that you’ll get that lucky next time,” said Mark Rasmussen, president of Buzzards Bay Coalition. 

Shaped by storms

Gosnold’s conservation commission chair, David Warr, said Cuttyhunk’s navigational channel was last blocked by sediment in the late 1940s. The town shut down the harbor, and the Cuttyhunk ferry had to drop anchor in Buzzards Bay. 

“Somebody from the island would come out to bring us in,” he said. “They took these old bass boats out to get us.” 

The problems of storms and sediment blocking the navigational channel are not new to Cuttyhunk’s residents. The channel itself was likely created by the Great Colonial Hurricane in 1635, which may have split what was Elizabeth’s Isle into Nashawena and Cuttyhunk Islands. 

After tourism to the island spiked in the 19th century, the Corps and Commonwealth built out the channel in 1907. Yet repeated storms and hurricanes caused sediment from Canapitsit Neck — the sandy spit that forms the channel’s southern shore — to fall into the navigational channel. So the Corps had to repeatedly re-dredge it. 

The Corps started work to stabilize the western part of Canapitsit Neck in 1949, sinking 14 wooden barges along the beach’s Vineyard Sound side to create Barges Beach. Yet Hurricane Carol damaged the project in 1954. Corps engineers started work on a stone dike to further stabilize the channel in 1963. Yet they only built a quarter-mile of it — half the proposed length — east of Barges Beach before Congress cut off funding in 1965. 

While the eastern end of Canapitsit Neck, along the dike, has remained stable, the sunken barges underpinning Barges Beach on its western end have eroded. This has been contributing to breaches and silting in the channel. And stronger storms and more frequent breaches have necessitated that the Corps dredge more often, and more urgently.

From 1938 to 1990, the channel had to be dredged 11 times for silting issues, or about once every five years. From 1990 to 2024, the channel was dredged eight times, about once every four years. It was dredged twice in the past five years, including in February after December and January storms battered the region. 

Recent dredgings have removed more sediment from the channel than those in the past, a consequence of stronger “no-name” storms, Blout said. The most recent dredging in February removed more than 15,000 cubic yards — which presented a crisis situation. 

Getting the Corps out to Cuttyhunk isn’t easy, Blout said. The number of dredging projects the Corps has to do on the East Coast is growing with climate change. And getting federal funding allocated to a dredging project can take years, Blout said. 

Billings said that while he appreciates the Corps’ dredging work, silting in the unprotected section of the channel “starts up again as soon as they leave.” 

Seasonal homes sit vacant on Cuttyhunk Island in January. Credit: Adam Goldstein / The New Bedford Light

Losing access to Cuttyhunk’s harbor would pose a grave financial risk to Gosnold. Revenue from the wharf and marina generated more than a third of the town’s $1.5 million annual operating budget. Seasonal travel is the island’s major economic driver; Billings said 20,000 people take the ferry per year. 

This accounts for more than 60% of the revenue for Pete’s Place, Lynch said. She added that 75% of the revenue from Cuttyhunk Cafe is from visiting boaters and day-trippers. 

The “resourceful” year-round residents of Cuttyhunk would find a way to survive without the channel, Lynch said; “we always do.” But, she added, “If we don’t have the boaters coming in the summer to buy ice cream and cookies, then we got nothing.” 

Rasmussen said Barges Beach is among the most popular beaches on Buzzards Bay, and also among the most vulnerable to storm erosion and sea level rise. Cuttyhunk’s harbor is also a federally-recognized safe harbor for vessels to take shelter in during storms. Rasmussen said Buzzards Bay Coalition wants to see the channel maintained long term.

“There are other parts of the bay landscape where we will be retreating from in years to come,” Rasmussen said. “But I don’t think closing a harbor of that significance would be one of those.”

Gosnold leadership has been working with the Woods Hole Group — a local environmental engineering firm — to evaluate long-term options for stabilizing the beach, Blout said. She said the Corps and the town agree that extending the dike onto Barges Beach would be the best way to stabilize the beach. 

“Where the stone dike is, the beach has remained intact,” she said. “For more than 60 years, the dike has protected that portion of the beach. It will protect the other part of the beach.”

Other options include building a sand-cobble berm, or a traditional beach nourishment program.

Blout said that a sand-cobble dune restoration would likely cost roughly double Cuttyhunk’s operating budget and not hold up in a major hurricane. She added that a beach nourishment program — suggested by state environmental agencies as another solution — would likely need to be replaced twice per decade, and put even more sand in the channel during storms. 

A United States Army Corps of Engineers dredging vessel removes sediment from Cuttyhunk’s navigational channel in January. Credit: Adam Goldstein / The New Bedford Light

Armoring beach ruffles feathers 

The Corps and Gosnold leadership have been “adamant” in recent decades that extending the dike is the solution for the channel. Yet state environmental agencies have resisted, saying it’s — quite literally — for the birds. 

Migratory piping plovers and least terns nest on the low dunes of Barges Beach in the spring and summer. Piping plovers are listed as threatened on the national and Massachusetts endangered species lists, and their nesting areas are protected from human disturbance. Least terns, listed as a species of “special concern” to the state, also have their nesting areas protected under the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act.

In 2022, 32 nesting least tern pairs were spotted on Barges Beach, along with five pairs of nesting plovers.

In 2005, the Corps submitted an application to complete the second half of the stone dike planned in the 1960’s: another 1,300 feet of it, 5 feet wide, on Barges Beach. 

Yet the state halted the process that year over environmental concerns. State officials said then that extending the dike would not be permissible under the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act, because constructing a permanent structure on a barrier beach could lead to its decline, which would have “adverse impacts” on the nesting plovers and terns. 

The state proposed that the Corps build a cobble berm, or conduct a regular beach nourishment plan. 

After receiving this pushback, Blout said, Gosnold leadership and the Corps decided to continue regular dredging. Yet Gosnold has learned that the Corps lacks the authority to put the dredged material back on Barges Beach, as state agencies suggested back then.

Instead, the Corps has been moving the dredged material to Church’s Beach, on the other side of the island. That’s “counterproductive” to the health of Barges Beach, said Rasmussen of Buzzards Bay Coalition, since removing sand weakens the barrier’s structural integrity and makes the channel more vulnerable. 

Rasmussen argued that strict Massachusetts laws protecting the existing state of barrier beaches and threatened species are well-intentioned, but the core principle underlying them is “outdated” amid the mounting effects of climate change.

A state environmental spokesperson did not take a position on extending the dike, noting that there is no current proposal for the state to consider. “The state has been working with Gosnold on beach nourishment options,” the spokesperson said, “and will continue to support local efforts to address climate change impacts in a sustainable manner.”

There are ways to build a permanent structure on the barrier beach while maintaining habitat for these threatened bird species, Warr said. Yet it will require Cuttyhunk residents to comply with Buzzards Bay Coalition signage limiting where people should walk during nesting season, as well as other rules protecting birds on the island. 

“It’s not that we want the birds on Barges to go away,” Blout said. “We’re just trying to come up with a solution so that both parties, the birds and humans, can live together.”

Completing the stone dike or a sand-cobble berm will cost more than $3 million, Blout said. The town would likely need to seek federal funding for any sort of structure on the beach. 

Blout added that while Cuttyhunk may be a small little dot on the map, the community “is like a small family,” and Gosnold leadership will work at the issue until its future is secured. 

“I think you just have to keep at it, and not give in,” she said. 

Email climate and environment reporter Adam Goldstein at [email protected].

The post Climate concerns hit Cuttyhunk appeared first on The New Bedford Light.