My County

Growing up in Dartmouth, MA meant growing up in Bristol County, 691 square miles of Boston and Providence suburban communities. Counties don’t really mean much to the average Massachusetts citizen like it does down south where counties run the police department. Bristol County encompasses two of the larger cities in the state, Fall River, known for Lizzie Borden and Battleship Cove, and New Bedford, famous for Moby Dick and gang rapes.

My County

I suppose I’m being too harsh on the Whaling City. For as long as I can remember, I’ve heard NB politicians and business leaders say that NB is on the verge of revitalization and it NEVER happens. There is a crime problem in the city that doesn’t seem to get any better. On the street where I lived for two years (just one short block from the juvenile court near the downtown) a body was found one winter morning. A junkie overdosed and wandered into a neighbor’s lawn. The house next door was a drug house. I’ll give the junkies credit, they kept a low profile to avoid trouble from the neighbors (pity about the overdose, though.) It was disturbing to watch young boys bicycle up to the door, disappear for a few minutes inside, and then pedal away to deliver their illegal wares. The landlord lived in South Dartmouth, so he didn’t care what happened as long as he got the rent.

I write all this because of something Howie Carr wrote about Bristol County:

Now [Governor] Deval bids to expand the Cash for Clunkers program to include bust-out law schools in Bristol County. Now, Bristol County is a very nice place – if it had palm trees it could be a Third World country.

When it comes to economic development and crime, I couldn’t agree more.


5 responses to “My County

  1. I went to UMASS Dartmouth for two years and left. I never saw anything of New Bedford or Fall River, unless it was from the highway. I did pass by the SNE Law School once, when I went the wrong way.

    I live in Lowell, from the area too. It’s pretty frustrating with our own revitalization. No doubt there are more artist lofts, galleries, niche shops, bars, and restaurants (nothing wrong with that) but does it really help the neediest of residents? So we give those who want a hand up, skills and training, yet it seems we loss them to other parts of the country. Almost all of our friends with college educations have moved.

  2. Oh we got a Target last month right on Industrial Ave, off the connector where industry and office parks are zoned so yes Lowell is probably doing much better. Also we getting a new court house with new retail area in downtown Lowell. Can’t complain.

    • The New Bedford/Fall River area just never seem to benefit from the economy to allow locals to have a good paying job without having to commute to Prov. or Boston. Though these cities are only an hour from Boston, they might as well be next to Pittsfield.

  3. Lowell, I fear, gave up on being a city. Rather more then a urban bedroom community. Not sure what they will do with all the poor people though. Put up a Planned Parenthood?

    Sick I know, but I feel that’s where it is going.

  4. Living in Leominster I can see a city striving to attract business; most of the downtown storefronts are occupied (unlike NB). NB and Lowell share one thing I can think of…they both have a National Park but I’m not sure visitors want to stray outside the park boundaries in both locations.

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