The Herald News, Tuesday, December 26, 2017
By Jo C. Goode
Fall River — What does the length of 17 football fields, with the end zones, look like? Go no further than the 77 acres of the Southcoast Life Science and Technology Park straddling Fall River and Freetown to the massive Amazon Fulfillment Center, where city staffers from the inspectional services department to the fire department — and many others in between — helped make Fall River’s massive construction project a reality.
On Wednesday, soon to retire Director of Inspectional Services Joseph Biszko unveiled a pictorial timeline and project facts as a gift to the city.
“A lot of people want to know about the biggest project in the city,” said Biszko, pointing to a series of aerial photographs of the Amazon facility with its more than 1 million square-foot footprint.
The homage to the Amazon project, which city staff hung outside the inspectional services office, contains some interesting facts about the project and the individuals who were instrumental in its construction. The project was completed smoothly in less than a year, starting in October 2015 and finishing 10 months later.
“It was like putting on a stage play, no could see what was going on in the background,” said Biszko. “They just see what’s going on in the stage.”
One photo dated Oct. 14, 2015, shows the densely forested 77 acres. In just a little over one month, the land is completely cleared.
“It was like an army of ants descended on it,” said Biszko, pointing to one aerial shot of the project.
Some of the construction statistics outlined by Biszko note that the building used 1,300 tons of steel for the structure and 60,000 square feet of concrete slabs that were poured daily on 70 to 100 trucks.
The Fall River crew agreed the city’s side of the work went off with few glitches because of the pre-planning they were involved in.
Biszko also ensured that every individual from the city is mentioned in the display, including the three mayors in office and the Bristol County EDC during the negotiations with Amazon to the completion of the project.
“This is a great gift. It’s a great project. The amount of work that was done in just a little over a year is just incredible,” said Mayor Jasiel Correia II.
Bristol County EDC Vice President Kenneth Fiola Jr., the city’s point man for Amazon, called the clear cutting and construction “like a military operation.”
“They had equipment I’d never seen in my life,” said Fiola.