The City of New Bedford working with the McCabe Enterprises team engaged neighborhood residents and stakeholders in the Payne Cutlery neighborhood about next steps in brownfields re-use. The City of New Bedford, with support from US EPA and the Massachusetts Brownfields Task Force, had undertaken brownfields site assessment and clean-up activities, ranging from removal of underground storage tanks to more complex clean-up and monitoring activities aimed at reducing the mass of chlorinated volatile organic compounds (VOCs) at the Payne Cutlery site.
A participatory engagement process involving local residents and stakeholders to develop a realistic vision and re-use plan for four city-owned properties was undertaken. The project area is a fifty acre neighborhood known as the Payne Cutlery neighborhood. It is comprised of twelve blocks bounded by the west by the CSX rail line (soon also to be South Coast rail), to the north by Collette Street, Ashley Boulevard (Route 18) to the east, and Sawyer Street to the south in New Bedford’s North End.
The neighborhood is principally residential with many three-families interspersed with single families, vacant lots, and commercial establishments. It is a gateway neighborhood, one of New Bedford’s poorest with many new immigrants from Central America.
Aligning the railroad were once giant mills and manufacturers. Today, some manufacturing remains along the rail line. Some mills, such as the one at Payne Cutlery and Elco Dress have been demolished. The neighborhood is strategically located midway between New Bedford’s two South Coast Rail stops – Whale’s Tooth at Pearl and Acushnet and the King’s Highway stop just west of Church Street.