For Immediate Release - October 31, 2013


Education investment, new park will bring growth and opportunity to the South Coast

WESTPORT - Thursday, October 31, 2013 - Governor Deval Patrick today made two announcements related to education and open space improvements that will create opportunity and growth for residents on the South Coast.  The Governor announced funding for a new academic building at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (UMass Dartmouth) that will support the campus’s growing enrollment. The Governor also announced today the creation of a new, multi-use trail along the Quequechan River in Fall River.

“Growth requires investment, and investing in our education infrastructure and creating more green space will bring opportunity to the residents of the South Coast,” said Governor Patrick. “If we want to expand opportunity in our Commonwealth, this is what government must do and do well.”

The new $55 million academic building at UMass Dartmouth will allow the campus to respond to its increased growth in enrollment, while relocating several academic programs currently being housed in leased space.  The new building will also enable UMass Dartmouth to keep pace with other leading institutions of higher education that demand more research space, specialized classrooms and the ability to take advantage of developments in technology.

“This is an exciting day for UMass Dartmouth, and I want to thank the Governor for this latest example of steadfast support of public higher education,” said UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Divina Grossman. “This new academic facility will provide world class learning and research spaces that will help our students achieve their highest aspirations.”

This morning, Governor Patrick also announced the creation of the Fall River Signature Park, a mile and a half of trail to be constructed along the Quequechan River that will convert the former Watuppa Secondary rail line into a multi-use trail offering outdoor recreation right in the heart of downtown Fall River. The park will be elevated on existing rail embankment and trestle in the middle of the Quequechan River for much of its length in Fall River, allowing users views of the river and wildlife.

"Governor Patrick is committed to investing in urban parks because he knows it is an investment in our future," said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan. "This park will create a new connection for neighborhoods currently cut off by Interstate 195, encouraging healthy recreation by people of all ages."

These latest announcements build on record investments in education, innovation and infrastructure the Patrick Administration has made in the South Coast region over the past several years. A new $46.5 million, 47,000 square foot Technology and Learning Center at Bristol Community College in Fall River will include teaching labs as well as student support space for the Nursing, Allied Health and Science programs.  Construction on the project will commence this spring.

The Patrick Administration has partnered with the private sector to award approximately $10.5 million to regional workforce training programs, training over 11,000 workers and job seekers throughout the South Coast since 2007.  Through investments like these, the region has become the fastest-growing clean energy cluster in the state, with a 14.3 percent rise in jobs over the past year. 

Construction is also currently underway at the Marine Commerce Terminal in New Bedford that will launch an entirely new industry in offshore wind and position Massachusetts to capture the numerous jobs to come from that industry. In July, the Patrick Administration awarded the New Bedford Economic Development Council $250,000 to provide training for unemployed and underemployed individuals with the goal of not only meeting the needs of the area’s construction industry, but will also support the build out of that new terminal.   

The Patrick Administration has supported Rhode Island Novelty’s relocation to Fall River – bringing 100 jobs to Massachusetts.  Fine jeweler manufacturing company Richline Group is also making large scale improvements to its site and will create 100 jobs and retain 628 because of an Economic Development Incentive Program investment tax credit through the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development.   

The new, 300-acre Biopark in Fall River will support the Patrick Administration’s investments in the innovation economy.  The Biopark boasts accessible, competitively priced, shovel ready sites with permits that can be delivered in 30 days and, as a result of $14 million from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, construction is underway on UMass Dartmouth’s first in the nation Accelerator for Biomanufacturing, which will serve as the anchor for the Biopark. When completed, the facility will be the only one of its kind in the United States where startups will be able to test their biomanufacturing methods and bioproducts at every stage of development and access full-service support from business and marketing to pure science support under one roof.  The Accelerator is designed to serve researchers and entrepreneurs as they develop products and methods that will reshape the fields of biotherapeutics, biomedicine and green chemistry.

Through federal stimulus money, the Patrick Administration constructed a new exit ramp on Route 24, providing direct highway access to the Biopark.  That exit ramp was the largest stimulus funded public works project in the Commonwealth.  In September, the Administration broke ground on a $197 million project to reconstruct the interchange of Route 79 and I-195 in Fall River that will put 300 people to work and position Fall River as a hub for economic development.  Currently, 11 bridges within the interchange are structurally deficient and many other components are functionally obsolete. By simplifying the roadways, this project will help to decrease congestion and traffic.  The final configuration of the project will also result in the complete removal of the elevated roadways and replace them with a surface roadway that improves safety for drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists.  Additionally, the removal of the elevated structures will allow for increased access to Fall River's waterfront, unlocking development potential for the city to grow a prime area for future opportunity.

The Patrick Administration has also taken the lead in securing and delivering on the South Coast Rail project.  After more than 5 years of coordination between the Administration, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and 17 state and federal agencies, the Corps has released its Final Environmental Impact Statement.  MassDOT has adopted the FEIS and identified the Stoughton rail alternative as its preferred route for providing the best transportation, environmental and smart growth benefits.

Today’s announcements are part of a series of events the Governor is holding throughout the months of October and November to demonstrate the types of investments his Administration is making in every region of the Commonwealth to expand growth and opportunity to all of our residents.

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