The public is invited, including all friends and neighbors from Downtown New Bedford, partners, and press as the owners “flip the switch” and celebrate clean energy. Social distancing guidelines will be followed at this outdoor event, in the loading dock and parking lot area, including mask wearing.
The Centre Street Earth Day Celebration emcee, Ethan Weiss from Fiber Optic Center, will announce the following guest speakers:
- Neal Weiss & Margie Waite, Owners, 23 Centre Street Building
- Speaking on the history of the building
- Adam Gent, Whaling City Solar
- Speaking on the process of installing solar panels
- Anne Louro, New Bedford Historical Commission
- Speaking on the balance between preserving history and making green improvements in a Historical District
- Mark Rasmussen, Buzzards Bay Coalition Buzzards Bay Center
- Speaking on the green features of The Buzzards Bay Center that was a pioneer in the area for environmentally responsible building renovations.
- Citation Presentation from Ian Abreu, New Bedford City Councilor At-Large
- Flipping the Switch Celebration with a Photo Opportunity
- The new solar panels, installed by Whaling City Solar, will be ‘turned on’
- Jazz Concert
Earth Day is a day of action to change human behavior and create global, national and local policy changes. The fight for a clean environment continues with increasing urgency. This local event will unite history, modern solutions and a community that is dedicated to protecting the environment.
“Fiber Optic Center has been a leader in green initiatives and is excited to be a part of this project that will allow us to track the solar power being generated down to an individual panel level over days, months and years. About 10-20% of FOC’s power will be generated by the solar array. Whaling City Solar was excellent to work with and though we both would have loved to go bigger, we simply ran out of roof space,” noted Ben Waite, President and CEO, Fiber Optic Center.
The building at 23 Centre Street has served as a whale oil storehouse, an ice-making company, a provisioning warehouse, an office for ship captains, the P. Kaller & Son meat-packing business and now is home to Fiber Optic Center (FOC). The street, itself, is one of the oldest streets in New Bedford’s history and was an excellent location in the middle of the whaling activity of the city. When that industry began to decline in the later 1800s, Centre Street suffered, and many of its buildings fell into disrepair. It was almost one hundred years before the renovation project initiated by the Waterfront Historic Area League (WHALE) began restoring buildings and revitalizing the area.
“The building in the spotlight this Earth Day, and its neighborhood, are successful examples of historic preservation and continued use of the city’s architectural heritage. This is an excellent example of blending protected history with cost-effective, proven green features that any business or homeowner can use,” FOC’s Director of Strategic Marketing, Kathleen Skelton explained.
FOC was founded in 1991 in New Bedford, Massachusetts, in the place known in the 19th Century as “the city that lit the world.” Because this active seaport was home to the worldwide whaling industry, its products were used to light the lamps and later lighthouses throughout the U.S. and elsewhere. FOC continues the tradition of lighting the world through its distribution of products based on fiber optics or other light-centric technologies (“photonics”), such as lasers and optical coatings.