The Herald News, Sunday, April 9, 2017 – Page B2
The city continues to have its places of beauty, sometimes neglected, sometimes taken for granted, sometimes ignored, but there if you look.
Old Second Street is one of those places. At its best, it’s a quiet, pedestrian walkway with some greenery and the attractive brick walls of the Academy Building looming overhead. At its worst, it needs a little paint and polish, maybe a new idea or two.
Looks like that is going to happen.
On Monday, the Fall River Redevelopment Authority, which owns Old Second Street, gave the go-ahead for Chairman William Kenney to enter into a design agreement with Boston-based landscape design firm Brown, Richardson and Rowe.
The firm is coming off a couple of Fall River successes, having designed the Alfred J. Lima Quequechan River Rail Trail and the Father Travassos Park projects, both of which added a lot of value to life in Fall River.
The design portion of the project will cost $19,200, a modest sum.
Old Second Street connects Government Center to the Fall River Justice Center and, if its urban landscape hosts some dicey-looking characters, it also offers its share of white collar workers, professional people, working folks of all kinds, and strolling seniors. That’s the blend of people you get in a city.
Right now, and we hope it lasts, there’s an uptick in outdoor life in Fall River. Travassos Park and the Rail Trail are both beautiful and well-used by the residents of Fall River, as well as people from neighboring communities.
Fall River may have been built as a city where you could walk to your cotton mill job, but it hasn’t been that place in a very long time.
To survive as anything other than a place where the population receives federal benefits, Fall
River has to continuously invent new reasons to live here, new reasons to stay here, new reasons to move to Fall River, buy a house, start a business and make a life.
City residents often have a hard time understanding why the city needs to look better, but cosmetic changes mean something, although they mean less if there are not other, more nuts-andbolts efforts to improve Fall River, including pothole repair, grappling with the drug problem and keeping a close eye on expenditures.
The trick to these cosmetic improvements is they can’t be done as a substitute for the more boring, less flashy tasks of government.
Old Second Street looks pretty good now, and this project should make it look better.
But make sure the work is done carefully at a reasonable price. People like a government that counts its change.
And when the work is done, don’t hold a press conference and think you’re done. Work hard to fill the space with people and events. Do routine maintenance. Keep thinking. Keep working.
For now, the beautification of Old Second Street is to be cheered. Let’s see what happens next.