April 2, 2019 – From great fires to the construction of Interstate-195, Fall River’s historic downtown has endured many injuries over the years.
Unfortunately, the administration’s proposal to construct a digital billboard in front of Government Center at South Main and Market Streets will only continue the damage done to the historic character of Fall River’s core as well as work against ongoing city efforts to revitalize the area.
The proposed billboard’s location is at a nexus of the Downtown, Lower Highlands, and Corky Row National Register Historic Districts and would be a significant detriment to the Fall River viewscape for eastbound travelers who currently get an unparalleled panoramic view of the city when coming over the Braga Bridge.
With details of the billboard’s height and width unclear as well as a lack of renderings, there’s no way to tell what visual impact the billboard would have on the numerous downtown properties on the National Register of Historic Places like the Academy Building.
Furthermore, the proposed billboard directly conflicts with the city’s new Downtown Urban Renewal Plan, where ‘billboard’ is not mentioned once in the plan’s entirety.
We at the Preservation Society believe that if the administration truly wished to generate additional revenue or make Fall River a tourist destination, it would focus on smart urban planning that develops the “spine” of North and South Main Streets as outlined in the Downtown Urban Renewal Plan.
Fall River’s historic resources can help spur economic development and create walkable neighborhoods, but only if they’re protected and only if they can be seen.
The Preservation Society of Fall River Board of Directors