New Bedford Cape Verdean Association to Hold Groundbreaking Ceremony for Island Park
NEW BEDFORD (WBSM) — Members of the Cape Verdean Association of New Bedford (CVA-NB) Inc. will hold a groundbreaking ceremony for Island Park on Thursday afternoon.
The event will take place at 4 p.m at the park site located on the corner of Acushnet Avenue and Bentley Street. The ceremony will mark the beginning of the park’s construction. After the program, there will be a tour of the cultural center. Construction for both projects are scheduled to finish by Summer 2024.
New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell and the Cape Verde Consulate General will also attend the event.
Speaking on WBSM’s Tim Weisberg Show on Wednesday, CVA-NB President Darlene Spencer and Vice President Jan Baptist said the park will be used as a space for a variety of events hosted by the association.
These programs range from live performances from Cape Verdean musicians to after-school programming for children.
The park will also be available for those who want to play Cape Verdean games, have lunch or enjoy their day in an open space.
“Looking further down the future, we're hoping to have some engaging installations where kids can go from station to station to learn station to learn something historical or something maritime,” Baptist said. “Something that mirrors the culture of Cape Verde.”
Baptist said the park will be built with sustainability in mind. A bus driveway on the intersection of Acushnet Avenue and Bentley Street will be made with seashells instead of concrete, and a rain garden will be installed to prevent spillage into streets.
“The idea was not to have so much concrete,” she said. “Everything that we decided based on this overarching view of how we can help the planet and how we can help the city.”
The mission to create Island Park began in 2019, when a lot adjacent to the CVA-NB building that formerly housed the Salvation Army Thrift Store became available for purchase. In consultation with Studio 2 Sustain and the Waterfront Historic Area League, the association purchased the lot to be the site of the park.
Spencer said the purpose of the park along with the community center is to create a stronger community that can connect with one another by participating in events and programs.
She also said the park will represent outreach towards everyone in the neighborhood and encouraged everyone to take advantage of the programs and events offered by the association.
“We see the park as an extension of the programs going on in the center,” Spencer said. “This is not only for the Cape Verdean community but anyone who wants to learn about the culture."