Addressing The Ave

A new interactive project that’s part of the Urban Agenda Initiative developed by the Community Economic Development Center (CEDC). 

Addressing Acushnet Ave will be a participatory online project and a place-making project along North End’s commercial corridor. 

The project will spotlight 10 addresses along The Ave – a mix of vacant storefronts and open small businesses – and invite followers of the community action group Love The Ave to share their memories of each building through the years. 

“There’s a huge emotional attachment to the unique commercial corridor Acushnet Avenue,” says project manager Steven Froias. “It’s the backbone of the north end of New Bedford with a treasured past, dynamic present and unfolding future.”  

Indeed, Froias recently wrote a piece for South Coast Insider magazine entitled, “The Ave is Alive.” In it, he wrote, “This isn’t supposed to be happening. During a pandemic and an economic downtown, new businesses are opening up and down Acushnet Avenue… 

“In the last few months, a Puerto Rican-themed gift and specialty store, Muralla, Maquinas & Mas has opened at 1690 Acushnet Avenue. A few blocks south, a new mattress store has appeared. The former Tilia Cafe has a sign announcing that a new restaurant is coming soon. 

“And just where The Ave … meets Brooklawn Park, something totally different has just opened: Pita Food Mart, featuring Lebanese, Middle Eastern, and Mediterranean groceries and produce.”

In addition, he noted that the popular Taqueria La Raza Mexican restaurant just opened up at their new, much larger location on The Ave at number 1218. 

So, not only the past but the present and potential of The Ave will be highlighted through the “Addressing The Ave” project. 

The CEDC’s Urban Agenda has embraced a variety of initiatives since the summer designed to prepare for the future of Acushnet Avenue – even as director Corinn Williams and staff have been working at a breakneck pace to assist city residents during the pandemic. 

Overseen by Jacob Miller, the Urban Agenda is “Activating Acushnet Avenue” by working with a variety of small businesses to help them improve storefront facades and encourage more activity on the street with projects such as “Addressing The Ave.”

For this project, one address a week will be shared on the Love Ave facebook page (follow it here) from December 2020 into February, 2021. Most of the 10 addresses will be selected as the project develops, but on the list so far is the former Champegny Shoes storefront – which will launch the project this coming week – the Casanova Gift Shop, and the former Capitol Theater.

Adding an interactive element, followers of Love The Ave will be asked to select some of the addresses as the project unfolds.  Where and when possible, readers will be encouraged to share mementos and pictures of these places, such as the Champegny Shoes bag pictured. 

The accumulated memories and material – augmented by research – will be used to create a blog post on LoveTheAve.com for each address. 

Then, words and images from all 10 addresses will be used to create a window display for each property. This will add an “on the street” element to the project, and followers will be encouraged to visit each storefront along The Ave for a self-guided walking tour of Acushnet Avenue.

Keep your eyes peeled for the posts – and get your memories, mementos and ideas for the future ready. You’re invited to Love The Ave with this project – yesterday, today and tomorrow.