The Herald News, Thursday, April 6, 2017 – Page B1

Jo C. Goode
Email: jgoode@heraldnews.com

Fall River — The Old Second Street walkway that connects Government Center to the Fall River Justice Center is set for a little sprucing up and improvements could be completed by this summer.

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. Kenney said they are the same firm that designed the Alfred J. Lima Quequechan River Rail Trail and the Father Travassos Park projects.

The design portion of the project is $19,200.

Once a throughway for automobiles, it was made into a pedestrian walkway as part of the 1960s and 1970s urban renewal effort, but has since fallen into disrepair and until recently, was used as an area for makeshift parking. “Literally it has been neglected for decades. This is one of the few areas in the city segregated from traffic and has the potential to be a great connection between two urban nodes being city hall and the courthouse,” said Kenney, who is also the city planner. The goal, said Kenney, is to create a space that feels like “an outdoor room,” that will attract residents, people working in the city and to host events organized by groups like AHA! Fall River and a farmers’ market.

With an approximately 10-week timeline, Kenney said the landscape architects will be tasked with planning the installation of attractive fencing, new plantings and lighting.

The improvements to Old Second Street will compliment nicely with the architecture of the more than 140-year-old Academy Building located on South Main Street with its sunken gardens and its Ruskinian Gothic Revival architecture.

The group will also help the RA put together request for proposals bid documents to do the work.

“This is going to be a good way to bring new life to the downtown area,” said Kenney. Some improvements have been made like an electrical

conduit installed along the border and better maintenance of the area. Last year they banned parking on Old Second Street, for one reason, heavy trucks were damaging the bricks and concrete, said Kenney.

The RA has also contracted with companies that are producing both urban and waterfront renewal plans. Kenney said those projects are ongoing and require public input and then City Council and state approvals.