October 14, 2012Boston Globe - New Bedford dares to dream
Bobbing along the Acushnet River on a sparkling morning, you get the sense this storied and long-pummeled city might be on the brink of something great.
A couple of recently derelict mill buildings boast handsome, shiny new windows, and tenants with water views. Workers are transforming another hulking, long-vacant shell into lofts. City economic development chief Matt Morrissey points to the 22-acre Riverside Park and traces the path of the newly funded Riverwalk, which will reconnect residents with the waterfront.
According to think tank MassINC, a huge 12 percent of New Bedford residents are unemployed; 44 percent are poor; only 14 percent have a bachelor’s degree; 55 percent of kids are already behind by third grade; and an anemic 54 percent graduate high school in four years.