Federal government invests in New Bedford waterfront

Fishing boats tied up in New Bedford Harbor

New Bedford's harbor and port received an infusion of money Wednesday to keep it afloat and flourishing.

The U.S. Economic Development Administration announced it was awarding the city with a $200,000 grant to help it re-imagine its waterfront.

"Our waterfront is a big economic engine and what we're trying to do is give it a turbo boost," said Mayor Jon Mitchell.

It's a matching grant, which means the city and the New Bedford Economic Development Council also put up funds.

In total, the project will cost $400,000 to improve the current fishing, manufacturing and tourist industries in the area.

Mitchell also said he hopes the project will attract new industries, including off-shore wind and cargo, and bring jobs.

"As the federal government continues to work with New Bedford and local communities across the country, we will rebuild our economy and return to full employment," said Matt Erskine, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development.

The city won't speculate on how many jobs but it is optimistic the improvements will trickle into other sectors of the city.

"We are connected to the sea and we'll always be connected to the sea and that is our legacy," said city Councilman Jim Oliveira.

The initial project should take about 18 months, but the city expects total development will take place over a 10- to 15-year timeframe.