New Bedford is an old whaling town, one of the most important in the world in its heyday. But it’s fallen on tough times more recently. Several big bets to spur economic development have fallen through recently, including hosting Cape Wind offshore wind farm construction facilities, a casino development, and the chance to host Olympic sailing as part of Boston’s disastrous bid for the 2024 Summer games. More on all that from the Boston Globe.
But under the surface there’s more going on. The Cape Wind failure has left in its wake the infrastructure of a cleantech hub that is thriving. There’s an arts community that is beginning to take hold. And a shout out to my friends at Groundwork, the coworking center in New Bedford that is hosting interesting organizations, growing businesses, and talented South Coast professionals.
Today, I made a donation to the Community Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts, specifically to support AHA! (Art, History & Architecture), New Bedford’s free monthly downtown cultural night. I’ve been to New Bedford on those nights and witnessed how it brings together a vibrant cultural community. Contrast that with today, a Saturday, which I’m spending in New Bedford. It’s shockingly quiet downtown today, in stark contrast to AHA! night, which speaks to the importance of continuing to stimulate the arts community downtown, as a means of economic and community development.