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The Summer of Love The Ave

In previous posts, I’ve written about the collective effort known as Love The Ave to focus attention on the busy north New Bedford commercial corridor and surrounding area.

That effort kicks into high gear and enters a new phase just as the busy summer season approaches. On Monday, May 15, north end merchants met at Cafe Europa to enjoy some excellent Sopa Portuguesa – and to begin implementing a game plan for communicating everything that Acushnet Avenue offers to residents and visitors alike.

As part of that plan, I’m happy to introduce the new Love The Ave logo you see above. It was chosen from a group of five designs and was the overwhelming favorite. Soon, you’ll see it on promotional material, window decals, flags, banners and even t-shirts. It’s a simple but effective way to brand The Ave – as it is commonly known – and create an entry point for residents and patrons alike.

Any area undergoing urban regeneration faces challenges – but the concerted efforts of residents, business owners and supporters operating in tandem on the Love The Ave steering committee have conspired to make sure that this is the Summer of Love The Ave.

There’s a lot to love in New Bedford’s north end. A newly-produced brochure that is intended to act as a shorthand guide for patrons lists almost 30 restaurants and bakeries all on The Ave – and another dozen just off it.

Additionally, it offers up several festivals that call north end home – such as the world-famous Feast of the Blessed Sacrament, Day of Portugal and the Polish Feast (a small gem that features amazing pierogis!). The brochure also lists points of interest like St. Anthony’s Church and Hatch Street Studios – just a few blocks off The Ave.

At Monday’s merchant meeting, everyone was clear-eyed about the challenges facing the revitalization of Acushnet Avenue, particularly the sense that it’s too gamey an area to hold widespread appeal. But that perception hasn’t stopped the business owners around the table from investing their blood and best hopes on The Ave and, it hasn’t stopped faithful patrons from enjoying the best bacalhau around at Cafe Mimo or exquisite Portuguese tarts at Chocolate Com Pimenta bakery.

Nor has it stopped the city’s dynamic Latino and Central American communities from growing and planting roots along Acushnet Avenue. In fact, thanks to this Latin influence, Acushnet Avenue boasts something downtown New Bedford sorely needs – a full-fledged grocery, Union Fruit Market at 1437 Acushnet Avenue.

I could go on and on enumerating other fantastic eateries, shops and assorted small businesses along The Ave, but am confident you get the idea that there’s plenty on offer for the urban homesteader or pioneer. And, I would include that slightly gamey atmosphere that is better described as…authentic city living.

Stay tuned to this blog and also follow news, events and happenings on and around Acushnet Avenue on the Love The Ave Facebook page to stay in the loop. As the temperature climbs, The Ave will be heating up and together, we’ll make it the Summer of Love The Ave.

Steven Froias