The Herald News, Saturday, June 24, 2017 – Page B1

By Kevin P. O’Connor
Email koconnor@heralnews.com

Fall River – Steel plates are on the way to be sunk in the sea. Pipes and wires are heading to the city to be buried in gravel.

The City Pier, a public push to private development, is slated for transformation this summer. The first phase of the project is underway.

“The material has been ordered,” said Ken Fiola, the executive vice president of the Fall River Office of Economic Development. “They will start work at the beginning of July.

“Everything in this phase should be complete by October or later in the fall.”

The city’s Redevelopment Authority owns the City Pier, a jut of land between the Cove Restaurant and Point Gloria.

The RDA, with FROED as its business agent, pulled together $3.2 million in state and federal grants to begin site work at the pier to prepare it for private development.

The plans are to drive sheet metal walls into the seabed around the pier to strengthen the granite seawalls already in place and to raise the level of the land. Contaminants were discovered in the soil in 2002, so the ground there must be covered with gravel and capped with soil to encapsulate the pollutants.

The plans also call for construction crews to dig trenches and install water and sewer lines as well as other underground utilities before the pier is capped.

The pier is on reclaimed tidal land, so state law requires that it be used for a marine-related purpose. The city is talking to marina operators and is also entertaining offers for a small restaurant on the pier.

Long-range plans also call for docks that would be open for transient boaters. The seawalls, the underground utilities and the soil cap will make the site ready for development, city officials say.

There are no firm plans for developing the site. Officials say they will begin marketing the land once the work is complete and the city knows what the state plans to do with the reconstruction on Route 79 that runs beside the pier.