Today the Massachusetts State Senate approved several local economic development projects sponsored by Senator Mark Montigny (D-New Bedford) as part of its latest economic recovery bill, S2842, the senator's office announced in a media release.

The Senate bill includes $15 million to MassDevelopment for site readiness at commercial, industrial and mixed-use development projects. Montigny, who has long led legislative efforts for mixed-use development at New Bedford State Pier, ensured this resource will be made available for immediate capital needs to begin mixed-use development at the pier.

This builds upon current law providing $25 million in mixed-use bond authorizations first secured by Montigny in 2008. This redevelopment strategy will better utilize the waterfront facility and connect it with the downtown arts and cultural center. Industrial uses at the pier, such as commercial fishing and marine cargo, will remain at the pier with the passenger ferry services. Meanwhile underutilized sections alongside Route 18 can be transformed into commercial and public recreational uses, connecting tourists and residents from downtown to the working waterfront, the senator's office said.

Montigny also advanced measures to renovate the Star Store performing arts campus in the heart of downtown’s arts and cultural center. As the original sponsor of the legislation creating the Star Store campus over twenty years ago, Montigny has been collaborating with officials at UMass Dartmouth in recent months to provide a 21st century upgrade to the facility. The new campus will become an arts and design hub featuring redesign spaces for emerging arts careers and better connect the public with its innovative space.

“Star Store and the state pier are two of the most dynamic development projects in the city that can absolutely transform how our bustling working waterfront connects with our thriving arts and cultural center,” said Senator Montigny. “As we seek ways to recover from the devastating economic impacts of COVID-19, these projects can play a critical role in stimulating our local economy.”

The Senate recovery bill also includes $20 million to support the reopening of cultural facilities impacted by COVID-19 in a safe and sustainable manner. Senator Montigny secured $100,000 to support the Zeiterion Theatre as it seeks ways to reopen safely in a post-COVID environment. Montigny, who has long supported the theatre through millions in legislative earmarks, specifically authorized outdoor events and concerts to give the Z operational flexibility and options for patrons who may hesitate to attend indoor performances once normal operations are allowed to resume.

Additional amendments sponsored by Senator Montigny and approved during today’s legislative session include $50,000 for the return of the Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey to New Bedford and $350,000 for capital improvement to the Cape Verdean Veterans Memorial Hall in New Bedford.

The House and Senate will now negotiate the final bill to send to Gov. Charlie Baker. Senator Montigny represents the 2nd Bristol and Plymouth District that includes Acushnet, Dartmouth, Fairhaven, Mattapoisett, and New Bedford.

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