Planning for a busy 2024
As we kick off 2024, the New Bedford TDI District is excited to share with followers some new projects and initiatives that were actually started during the waning days of 2023 in preparation for the year ahead.
The year 2023 was a successful year on The Ave. It was filled with fun, art and community, and we were pleased to provide some meaningful support to local businesses and work with an incredible team of partners. Over the next year, we’re excited for more of all of that – as well as new plans to provide even more development support to this dynamic community.
Before we launch into that, however, the beginning of the year is a good time to reintroduce what, exactly, the New Bedford TDI District is and what it does, for the benefit of new followers.
The New Bedford TDI District is focused on the revitalization of the Acushnet Avenue commercial corridor affectionately called “The Ave” in New Bedford. TDI stands for Transformative Development Initiative. It is one of many TDI Districts in Massachusetts. Each is part of a larger MassDevelopment program to stimulate economic growth, encourage community development, improve infrastructure, enhance public spaces, and attract private investment within each district.
The program, which you can find out more about here, involves working closely with local stakeholders, businesses, and residents to identify priorities and implement initiatives that address the unique needs of the neighborhood.
Here in New Bedford, by way of achieving those goals, we’ve established new subcommittees, dedicated to Arts & Culture; Real Estate; Small Business; and Marketing.
We’ve got a great head start. Love The Ave, which pre-dates the TDI District, is a durable “brand” that heralds the future while utilizing the emotional infrastructure and historic significance of The Ave. One of the first orders of business in 2024 will be rolling out a refreshed logo and associated marketing materials developed especially for Love The Ave via the New Bedford TDI District by the firm OverUnder.
This will also entail a social media and website makeover for Love The Ave, and some changes to this monthly newsletter as well. Beginning next month, we’ll begin spotlighting a TDI District small business and continue each month thereafter.
These businesses are the very backbone of our community in the north end. Indeed, they have defined both the City of New Bedford and the Acushnet Avenue area as a historic destination to newcomers to the city, as well as the country, for over a century.
That story is still unfolding. Today, new Hispanic, Latino, Central American and especially Guatemalan residents are using their industry and imagination to revitalize this commercial corridor. Some of the culture – and cuisine! – may have changed, but the narrative of hardworking folks building this community hasn’t changed since the French-Candians, Portuguese and Polish left their imprints on The Ave beginning over a hundred years ago.
A terrific story about the past meeting the present – and future – can be found in the history of none other than Corinn Williams, Executive Director of our partner, the Community Economic Development Center (CEDC).
Way back in the 1920s, Bazel and Rose Mroczkowski set up shop on The Ave, representing a growing New Bedford Polish community. Rose came from Poland as a child but ran away from the farm in Vermont to work in the garment mills in Franklin, N.H. There she met Bazel, who had come to the U.S. as a teenager and worked in the lumberyards and mills in Chicago and later in New Hampshire. Together, they made their way to New Bedford.
Bazel and Rose opened the New York Garment Store across from St. Anthony of Padua Church on Acushnet Avenue. They sold clothing and toys at first and later specialized in bridal wear. The building also housed a post office among other retail shops and spacious apartments about the store. The Morozcowski family lived on Bullard Street and their three daughters; Frances, Maryann and Helen were born there. The New York Garment Store later set up shop at 1570 Acushnet Avenue and continued its remarkable run as a going concern into the 1970s.
It just so happens that Bazel and Rose are the grandparents of none other than… Corinn Williams! Maryann was her mother, a school teacher, and Corinn spent many hours in Rose’s shop while her mother was at work.
Spotlighting businesses that play a role in creating The Ave we know today isn’t simply marketing or promotion. It also illuminates where we’ve been as a community, where we’re going, and why we Love The Ave.
Today, new businesses like La Raza, Saenz Restaurant, La Fruta Loca and Casa Lempira (pictured outside in the featured photo and inside above) are ready to assume their role in The Ave’s history.
So hang on tight – because 2024 in the New Bedford TDI District promises to be a wild ride for the ages!
Until next month, below find some other things you should know about right now….
- The New Bedford TDI team
Island Park work commences
The bulldozers have been busy at the site of what will soon become Island Park, by the Cape Verdean Cultural Center at 1157 Acushnet Avenue. This shot was taken on Wednesday, Jan. 3 as fill was being laid that will define the contours of the park.
Community Preservation Act (CPA) FY24 Applications to be Presented at Virtual Public Meetings
Mayor Jon Mitchell and the Community Preservation Committee (CPC) invite all interested community members to review the FY24 Community Preservation Act (CPA) applications submitted for funding consideration and to provide public comment at three virtual public meetings in January.
Twenty-two applications seeking over $2.9 million in CPA funding were received by the deadline – including many in the north end and in the New Bedford TDI District, such as the Stand and Capitol Theater projects.
Meetings will be held at 6:00 p.m. on the following dates: Tuesday January 9, 2024, Thursday January 18, 2024, and Tuesday January 23, 2024. Click here for a PDF file with meeting links and an overview of which projects will be discussed at each meeting.
Once the CPC has completed its application review, the committee will vote on the projects to recommend for funding and submit their recommendations to the New Bedford City Council for their consideration and vote.