Preservation Society Receives Bristol County Savings Charitable Foundation Grant

The Bristol County Savings Charitable Foundation awarded the Preservation Society of Fall River a $6,500 grant to purchase and install a heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) unit at the Dr. Isaac Fiske House (c.1833) — a Fall River Underground Railroad site.

“The Preservation Society is very thankful for the support of the Bristol County Savings Charitable Foundation,” Board of Directors President Jim Soule said. “This grant will not only make the property more energy efficient, but also help preserve this piece of Fall River history for years to come.”

The Preservation Society acquired the Fiske House, located at 263 Pine Street, in September 2018. The building is currently a multi-tenant apartment and office of the Preservation Society.

The Bristol County Savings Charitable Foundation distributed $353,600 in grants to over 40 organizations in the region at its check presentation event on Dec. 19, 2019. Nine Fall River area grant recipients, including the Preservation Society, received a total of $64,500.

Fiske House Community Preservation Act Project Begins

Work has begun at the historic Dr. Isaac Fiske House as part of the Preservation Society’s Community Preservation Act-funded project.

The City Council appropriated $69,000 for the project at its June 20 meeting, which includes the repair and replacement of seven windows and the installation of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning units for four of the apartments in the historic house.

The Preservation Society acquired the Fiske House, an Underground Railroad site located at 263 Pine Street, in September 2018. The building is currently a multi-tenant apartment and office of the Preservation Society.

Border City Mill Smokestack To Be Demolished

The Fall River Historical Commission received a letter of intent for the demolition of the Border City Mill No. 3 smokestack from attorneys representing Stanley Street Treatment and Resources (SSTAR) on Nov. 25, 2019.

The historic Border City Mill No. 3 burned down on Feb. 20, 2016, during a 3 a.m. fire. The smokestack is the only remaining piece of the building to survive the blaze.

SSTAR recently applied for its third building permit in an attempt to develop a $6.7 million facility at the mill’s former location of 75 Weaver Street. The organization’s first two attempts were denied by the city. SSTAR’s originally announced plans in November 2016 to build an $11.7 million included a 60-bed detox facility for outpatient treatment.

The mill is one of three Border City textile mills and dates back to the 1880s. Border City Manufacturing was first organized in 1872 as a cotton mill. The four-story Border City Mill No. 3, about 400 feet long and 70 feet wide, was once used by Harvey Probber furniture manufacturing.

The cause of the fire was not determined after investigation by Fall River Fire, Police, and the State Fire Marshall’s office.

The Fall River Historical Commission expressed interest in asking SSTAR representatives to incorporate the surviving smokestack into designs of any new facility constructed there earlier this year.

Border City Mill No. 3 was listed on the Fall River Register of Significant Structures, which requires a six-month delay to any demolition so all parties involved can discuss possible alternatives.

Preservation Society Joins Bedford Streetscape Oversight Committee

President of the Preservation Society of Fall River’s Board of Directors Jim Soule has joined the City of Fall River’s Bedford Streetscape Oversight Committee.

Soule recently attended one of the first committee meetings to advocate for historically-sensitive designs to be incorporated into the Bedford Streetscape project as a way to help highlight the city’s Downtown Historic District.

During the City’s Purchase Streetscape project, the Preservation Society submitted suggestions to the City asking for the use of historically sensitive streetlights and building materials for things like curbing in streetscape projects.

Preservation Society VP selected to mayor-elect’s transition team

Preservation Society Vice President James Souza has been selected to serve on Mayor-Elect Paul Coogan’s transition team’s Arts, Culture and Tourism Subcommittee.

Coogan announced a 62-member transition team on November 22, 2019, that included eight subcommittees: Finance; Economic and Workforce Development; Housing and Urban Development; Public Safety and Health; Education; Arts, Culture and Tourism; Infrastructure, Environment and Community Maintenance; and Public Integrity.

Arts, Culture and Tourism

Patrick Norton: Executive Director, Narrows Center for the Arts (Chair)
Sandy Dennis: Co-Founder, Creative Arts Network
James Souza: Owner, New Boston Bakery; Vice President, Preservation Society of Fall River
Walter Fraze, Jr.: Owner, Walter Fraze, Jr. Law Office
Kathleen Castro: Professor of Arts & Humanities, Bristol Community College
Scott Lopes: Assistant Vice President of Training & Development, BayCoast Bank
Tony Rodrigues: World Language Instructor, BMC Durfee High School

Finance Transition Team

Joan Medeiros: Vice President, Bristol County Savings Bank (Chair)
Carlos Da Cunha: Senior Vice President & Senior Lending Officer, St. Anne’s Credit Union
Jose Pacheco: Owner, Pacheco Realty Company
Carl Taber: Executive Vice President & Chief Lending Officer, Bay Coast Bank
William Eccles, Jr.: President & CEO, Bank 5
Matthew Schondek: President & CEO, Fall River Municipal Credit Union
Robert Camara: Public Employees Representative, City of Fall River; Retired Fall River Fire Department
Sergeant Joseph Castro: Member FRPD; Chairman of the Insurance Advisory Committee, City of Fall River

Economic and Workforce Development

Joseph Marshall: Founder & President J. Marshall and Associates (Chair)
Karl Hetzler: President, H&S Tool; President, Fall River Industrial Park Association
Frank Marchione: President & CEO Boardwalk Crossing; President, Bristol County EDC
Michael Lund: President, Borden Light Marina, Inc.
Louis Gonsalves: Owner, Juiced Cafe
Michael Benevides: Owner, Portugulia Marketplace
Diane Nadeau: Executive Director, Bristol County Training Consortium (Retired)
James Pimental: Vice President/Organizer, Bricklayers, Local 3
Bradford Higson: Owner, Higson Seafood

Housing and Urban Development

Ronald Rusin: Owner, Ron Rusin Real Estate (Chair)
Carole Fiola: State Representative, 6th Bristol District
Steven Long: City Councilor, City of Fall River
Deb Fastino: Director, Coalition for Social Justice
Kathleen Schedler Clark: Executive Director, Steppingstone, Inc.
David Underhill: Member, Fall River Housing Authority; Member, Joint Tenant Council; Member, Fall River Housing Authority
Aaron Tetrault: Owner, Fall River Pawn Brokers

Public Safety and Health

Mark Costa, Assistant Chief Probation Officer (Chair)
Thomas Quinn, Bristol County District Attorney
John LaPointe, Fall River Police Department (Retired)
Alan Silvia, State Representative, 7th Bristol District
Natalie Mello, President Bank Street Neighborhood Association
Carlos Caesar, President Flint Neighborhood Association
James Cusick, Fall River Fire Department (Retired)
Laura Ferreira Washington, Program Director, Steppingstone, Inc.
Dr. Henry Vaillancourt, Director of Public Health, City of Fall River (Retired)


Traci Almeida: Coordinator of Graduate Admissions & Licensure, UMass Dartmouth (Chair)
Dr. Armand Desmarais: Professor Emeritus, UMass Dartmouth
Melissa Panchley: Senior Property Manager, Karam Financial Group
Dr. Edward Costar: Administrator, Fall River Pubic Schools (Retired)
Rick Sahady: Administrator, Fall River Public Schools (Retired)
William Kelly: Professor Arts & Humanities, Bristol Community College (Retired)

Public Integrity

William Kenney: Attorney, Law Office William Kenney (Chair)
Rev. Robert Nemiocovick: Pastor, Blessed Trinity Church
Kim Gosson Almeida: Director of Benefits Operations, Brown University
Antonio Teixeira: Community Activist
William Whitty: Former Mayor & City Councilor President, City of Fall River
August Venice: Community Activist
Roberta Brooks Tetrault

Infrastructure, Environment and Community Maintenance

Rebecca Collins: President, Collins Construction, Inc. (Chair)
Daniel Raposa: Director of Buildings and Grounds, Fall River School Department (Retired)
Michael Grimo: IT Professional, Senior Executive, (Retired)
Byron Holmes: Engineer, City of Fall River (Retired)
Alfred J. Lima: Community Activist
Arnaldo Paquette: Community Activist; Former Director of Operations, BFI, Inc.
Terrance Sullivan: Director of Community Utilities, City of Fall River (Retired)
James Terrio: Director of Administrative Services Water Department; Clerk, Watuppa Water Board (Retired)
Michael Dunn: Senior Project Manager, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Executive Office of Technology Services and Security

Ordinance Committee to discuss Preservation Society’s proposed changes

The City Council voted to send the Preservation Society’s proposed ordinance changes for increased protections on city-owned historic properties to the Committee on Ordinances and Legislation for discussion.

The resolution was approved at the City Council’s Oct. 22, 2019, meeting and invited representatives from the Preservation Society and Historical Commission to meet with the Committee, City Administrator, and City Counsel.

The meeting date has yet to be determined.

The Preservation Society recently submitted a proposal to change the city’s ordinances to better protect city-owned historic properties. They are:

Twelve-Month Demolition Delay
The city adopt a twelve-month demolition delay ordinance for all city-owned historic buildings. This would not replace the current six-month delay for private properties. The twelve-month delay is a recommendation of the 2018-2022 Massachusetts State Preservation Plan and would give a more realistic time-frame to find alternatives to the demolition of historic properties that’s acceptable to the neighborhood and the community at-large.

Preservation Restriction Deeds
An ordinance that requires the sale or disposal of all city-owned properties 50 years and older be subject to review for preservation restrictions on their deeds as a condition of any agreement. The Massachusetts Historic Commission suggests properties 50 years and older may be considered historical in value. A preservation deed restriction could be waived by the Fall River Historical Commission if deemed unnecessary for the property.

Community Preservation Committee Moves Projects To Next Phase

The Community Preservation Committee voted to move 29 projects through to the next phase of review at its Oct. 1 meeting, where the eligibility of each application was discussed.

Committee members determined which of the state’s Community Preservation Act criteria — affordable housing, historic preservation, or open space and recreation — applied to each project. Applicants voted through will move on to the funding phase in early 2020, where they’ll go over details and make the case for each project.

The public projects moving forward for fiscal year 2021 are:

  • Bank Street Armory
  • Kennedy Park Men’s Warming House
  • Kennedy Park Tennis Courts
  • Oak Grove Cemetery Gatehouse
  • Boat Ramp & Bicentennial Park
  • Fall River School Administration Building
  • Barnabas Blossom Workshop Restoration
  • Quequechan River Rail Trail Rodman Street Annex
  • Bioreserve Conservation Land Acquisition Readiness Project 2021
  • Preserving Spence Moacomber Farm
  • Preserving Fall River’s Small Rural Cemeteries
  • Restoration of the 1873 Waterworks Stable
  • Mystery Stone Relocation
  • Preservation of Historic Dall River Water Department Documents
  • Securing Article 97 Protection for Open Space Parcel Omitted From Bioreserve Conservation Restrictions
  • Preserving the Watuppa Native American Legacy

The private projects moving forward for fiscal year 2021 are:

  • Little Theatre
  • Trolley Building
  • Corky Row Club
  • Cherry & Webb Building
  • Adams House
  • Fall River Fire Museum
  • Maritime Museum
  • 36-56 Water Street
  • Lafayette-Durfee House
  • 77 Freedom Street Fire/Police Station
  • Eagle Event Center
  • Niagara Quequechan Greenway

Three projects were determined to not meet the state’s criteria and therefore were not eligible for CPA monies. Those projects were from the King Phillip Yacht Club, Weaver’s Cove Recreation Facilities, and Daylighting Quequechan River. The 234 Purchase Street Barn project was withdrawn by the applicant.

A History of the N.B. Borden School: 2012-2019

With the demolition delay for the Nathaniel B. Borden School at 45 Morgan Street set to expire one month from now, the Preservation Society would like to provide the public with the following information on the property since its sale to T.A. Restaurant in 2012.

Because T.A. Restaurant President Kevin Santos has agreed to and then skipped three separate meetings to discuss the property and his plans, the Fall River residents have been left to gather what information it can to help answer questions about his plans and why his initial proposal to redevelop the property fell through.

All of this information is publicly available, but we’ve collected it into a single place and put it in chronological order, which helps identify a number of contradictions, oversights, and errors with the process.

It is the Preservation Society’s hope that this information helps show the need for proper safeguards and follow-up when selling/disposing of city-owned historic properties. Not only are unnecessary demolitions damaging to the city’s culture, but they can wipe out thousands of dollars of property value and property taxes for the city, ultimately at the cost of all taxpaying residents.

You can read our info packet here.

Library Roof Replacement Project Set To Begin

Work will soon begin on the historic Fall River Public Library’s roof, which first started leaking three years ago and damaged the interior as well as some of the artifacts housed within.

Westport-based Capeway Roofing has been hired for the roof repair project with work expected to take approximately 30 days, according to a Herald News interview with Buildings and Grounds Director Christopher Gallagher.

The repairs come following a disagreement between the City Council and Mayor Jasiel Correia’s Administration over what money should be used to repair the roof.

After initially rejecting the Mayor’s request to appropriate emergency Community Preservation Act funds, the City Council approved the request when the Mayor refused its direction to find money from the general fund instead.

This comes after the Community Preservation Committee hesitantly recommended the request for emergency funding due to the current state of the library after three years of deteriorating conditions, but also stressing that Community Preservation Act monies aren’t intended for maintenance projects.

Preservation Society Delivers Input On Bedford Streetscape

Directors of the Preservation Society attended the first public input meeting of the Bedford Streetscape project on August 22, 2019.

Before the meeting, the Preservation Society submitted this position statement to city officials on the possible benefits the Bedford Streetscape project could have for the downtown historic district.

At the input meeting, Directors made a point of noting the previous issues with the Purchase Streetscape project, such as historically inaccurate building materials and street lighting that didn’t mesh with the surrounding neighborhood, in hopes to avoid similar issues.

Members of the Bedford Streetscape Oversight Committee attended the meeting as well, which had attendees use stickers to mark which ideas they “liked” and “disliked” that the Bedford Streetscape project could incorporate.

Phil Viveiros of McMahon Associates, the engineering firm attached to the project, said the goal of the streetscape was to “make Bedford Street a gateway” for the the downtown area.

The project will include a road safety audit that looks at all forms of transit and will consider options that make Bedford Street a two-way street.