The Herald News, Sunday, November 15, 2015 – Page A3

By Jo C. Goode
Email: jgoode@heraldnews.com

Fall River – The Fall River Redevelopment Authority this month has revised a state Department of Environmental Protection Chapter 91 Waterways license related to the City Pier project.

“Essentially, what the license allows us to do now is to move forward with the improvements to the pier,” said Kenneth Fiola Jr., executive vice president of the Fall River Office of Economic Development, on Thursday during a Redevelopment Authority meeting.

Fiola said the improvements include the construction of seawall pilings to stabilize the pier as well as the 3 feet of fill that is required to suppress existing polychlorinated biphenyls on the Taunton River bottom at the site. PCBs are a known carcinogen.

The Redevelopment Authority owns the City Pier property, located on 4.5 acres on the Taunton River and Davol Street, and the long-range plan after the next phase of the project is complete is to develop a marina and restaurant by a private developer.

Even though the Redevelopment Authority has the proper license to move on the project, it is still waiting for a $7.5 million environmental bond appropriation to be released to fund the work.

Over a year ago, the local delegation earmarked environmental funding, approved by the Legislature, to conduct work that Fiola has called Phase 2 of the project to stabilize the site.

Fiola said there is “lobbying going on” to release the funding, and he will be talking with Mayor-elect Jasiel Correia II about the issue to continue the effort.

“Hopefully we can get those monies released in the spring,” Fiola said. “The actual design for this work is complete. We’re ready to go – all we need is the funding.”

That phase of the project, he said, would take about one year.

The Redevelopment Authority will pursue another Chapter 91 license from DEM for the third phase of the project.

The next phase, we’re just going to get it licensed, then go out to secure a private developer to lease the land to them so that the Redevelopment Authority doesn’t incur any further cost,” Fiola said.

In 2013, the Redevelopment Authority used a $220,000 appropriation from the Seaport Council for design and permitting and a $625,000 grant from MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development authority, to assist in cleaning up the contamination.