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Project focused on multi-faceted approach to improving downtown Fall River



Photo courtesy of Matthew Barillaro

A special project is taking place to help improve downtown Fall River.

Patti Rego, from We Love Fall River, is part of the Viva Fall River Main Street Project, which is focused on improving the South Main area of the city.

The plan is to make downtown Fall River a must-visit destination for visitors to the Southcoast region.

According to Rego, the project is spearheaded by the Fall River TDI Partnership, whose mission is to reinvigorate the Fall River TDI District through relationship-building with the community and local stakeholders and reinvestment in local businesses and the communities they serve with economic development.

The Fall River TDI Partnership is comprised of the following organizations: Alexandra’s Boutique, Bank 5, BayCoast Bank, the Business Innovation Center, the City of Fall River, the Corky Row Neighborhood Association, E for All Southcoast, Fall River Pawnbrokers, JRI, One Southcoast Chamber, People Incorporated, Rockland Trust, SER Jobs for Progress, SouthCoast Community Foundation, and We Love Fall River.

The Viva Fall River Main Street Project includes outdoor dining, sandwich board signage, Viva Fall River website, and a recently painted mural at the Viva Fall River Pop-Up shop, which is also part of the project.

Some of the initiatives include:

Outdoor Dining:
• Parklet on Purchase Street, outside Thyme Blossom and the Meat Shop is the first of the parklets in the downtown area. We’re hoping to get approval for a few more.
• Worked with the city to secure the outdoor heaters that they have distributed to over 20 restaurants.

Sandwich Board Signage:
• Helps to visually notify drivers and passers-by that local businesses are open and welcoming business.
• Designed by YEAH! Corps students, featuring custom iconography to identify them as key points of interest in the District. These same icons will be featured on the Viva Fall River website and are part of a larger identity and wayfinding campaign for the Fall River TDI District.
• Fabricated by Tyler Inman and other artists at Smokestack Studios, a collective studio of artists housed in Fall River’s historic Metacomet Mill.
• Assembled by the YEAH Corps students with Tyler Inman. Delivery to approximately 10 businesses will take place over the next month.
• In the development stages, launching in mid-December 2020
• Will include information about the Fall River TDI Partnership and the Viva Fall River Main Street Project, including an interactive map and directory featuring the custom icons designed for the downtown business community
• The site will also include a section for community resources, as well as a section for the small business community, with content specifically created for them (called Fall River TDI Small Business Bites – Quick Info That Makes Cents.)

According to Rego, the mural was designed by Jose Menendez Lopez and Tatiana Gómez Gaggero, professional graphic designers and educators based in Providence, RI. Jose has been working with the student artists at YEAH! Corps, a non-profit based in Fall River, that engages high school age youth in Fall River in the many diverse forms of art to create opportunities that will inspire youth to realize their potential. They are working artists and learn new techniques in order to fulfill their commissions. This mural was one of their commissions, funded with money from a MassDevelopment grant.

There are still some final touches to be made by the youth artists, who painted almost the entire mural by themselves, according to Rego.

“The mural is done in the Azorean azulejo style and pays homage to the popular song with the same name, by beloved Portuguese singer Jorge Ferreira. The aforementioned final touches will be snippets of the song’s lyrics stenciled around the perimeter of the design.”

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