For Immediate Release
May 12, 2016
The Waterfront Historic Area League (WHALE), a non-profit specializing in the historic restoration of New Bedford, is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a $100,000 grant from the Mass Cultural Council’s Cultural Facilities Fund for a current project in the heart of the historic district. The 139 Union and 141 Union Street project, called the Co-Creative Center, are abutting vacant historic commercial buildings, circa 1840, on Union Street in downtown New Bedford.
Set in a blighted block that has been vacant for many years, the Co-Creative Center development, totals a 10,000 SF plan for community revitalization. The buildings will be reused for a community art gallery, education center, makerspace, co-work space and four affordable apartments on the top floor. The MCC Grant will be utilized for the restoration of the Community Gallery, Educational space, and Makerspace. Teri Bernert, WHALE Executive Director explains, “The impact of this project is broad-based and designed to restore New Bedford’s cultural community and creative economy. It will be a vital hub for non-profit collaboration while stimulating other revitalization efforts”. She appreciates the support from the Mayor’s Office and New Bedford Economic Development Council.
Since 2014, WHALE has been working on this initiative with community partners studio2sustain, AHA! New Bedford, and New Bedford Art Museum/Artworks!. WHALE identified this block of vacant buildings as the opportunity to unite a community and began the process for an impactful and purposeful revitalization of the downtown streetscape. The $2.3 Million-dollar project plans to harness public and private investment into the downtown district.