New Year, New buildings for Dartmouth

Dec 31, 2018

Dartmouth has a record number of new buildings underway and in the works for 2019. Over the course of the year, residents will see a new police station, branch library, maritime center, and an improved Memorial Stadium. A recreation center, road relocation, and road and bridge work are still in the planning stages.

Memorial Stadium

Officials plan to complete the first stage of renovations to Memorial Stadium by the start of the fall sports season. In February, the project will be up for bids, with work starting in the spring. By the fall, the stadium will have a new turf field and improved lighting, along with the necessary electrical and drainage work.

The $1.1 million in funding for this phase of work was approved by members at the 2018 Fall Town Meeting.

The improvements are anticipated to increase access to the field, as turf is far more resistant to rain and use than a natural field. The lighting will also improve the experience of spectators, as currently it is often too dark for announcers to see the play at the far ends of the field.

The next phase of the project, which needs to secure funding, would renovate the home stadium, add Americans with Disabilities Act compliant bathrooms, and add a walking path around the stadium. Funding will likely be requested at either the spring or fall Town Meetings.

Maritime Center

The Maritime Center, located at the intersection of Bridge and Water Streets, is expected to be completed in January, weather permitting. The single-story, 530 sq. ft. building includes seasonal offices for the Harbormaster, bathrooms and showers, a multipurpose room open to boaters and the publice, and a deck and boat ramp for public enjoyment.

The project was funded through a $1.2 million state grant, $200,000 in community preservation funds, and additional funds from the Department of Public Works and Waterways Commission. The total cost was $1.47 million.

North Dartmouth Branch Library

The new North Dartmouth branch library is expected to be complete in Summer 2019, although the move-in process could take some time. The library is being built on Cross Road next to Potter Elementary School, and will provide the space the current library lacks.

First proposed in 2004, the new library project was resurrected after the Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District (SRPEDD) released a comprehensive traffic study of Dartmouth. The study recommended realigning Tucker Road with Hathaway Road — directly through the library building.

Town Meeting members approved the project in 2017. An additional $5.3 million in state funding was provided by the Massachusetts Board of Library Directors.

Police Station

Construction on the new police station, located at 1390 Tucker Road, is well underway, and expected to be complete in summer 2019. The project has been underway since 2016 when town meeting members voted down a proposal to renovate the department’s existing headquarters.

The department has been operating out of trailers and modular units since 2014 when an officer contracted Legionnaires disease from contaminated water in the Russells Mills Road headquarters.

The new 21,800 sq. ft., two-story building will be the department’s first purpose-built station. The facility will feature better locker rooms, meeting rooms, secure parking areas, and suspect holding cells.

The department expressed its gratitude for the new building in this year’s Christmas video.

Rec Center

Young athletes could have more places to play, as the Parks Board plans to propose a recreation center. The center, which would be built on town owned land adjacent to the Dartmouth Youth Activities Association on Russells Mills Road, would provide indoor space for basketball, indoor soccer, indoor field hockey, and other sports.

The Board unveiled a conceptual plan for the site in March, and gained support from various youth leagues. The space would give priority to local groups like the Dartmouth Girls Athletic League, but could also be rented by travel teams or non-sports organizations like the Council on Aging or summer camps. There would also be the possibility of using the space for night games.

Officials predict that the space would also be more affordable for youth leagues than what is currently available for them.

This project would require Town Meeting approval.

Road and Bridge Work

The state recommended a relocation of Tucker Road that would create a four-way, signalized intersection with Rt. 6 and Hathaway Road. Tucker Road would be re-routed through the existing North Dartmouth branch library and the Metro Pizza Plaza. The intersection of Old Westport and Chase Roads is under construction. The project will address traffic and safety concerns by adding sidewalks, shoulders for cyclists, and a full set of traffic lights for the three-way intersection.

An engineering study will be conducted on the third section of Faunce Corner Road which stretches from the railroad tracks up to and including the intersection with Fall River Road. The road will likely be widened and improved to match the previous work on the road.

The Department of Public Works is in the process of reconstructing neighborhood roads in Bliss Corner, where the need for road work is greatest.

Officials would also like to improve Padanaram Bridge. Although the causeway has been improved, the bridge itself still needs work, and was stuck open or shut several times over the summer. However, this project requires state funding.