UPDATE: This article has been updated to reflect that the legislation still has to pass through the House, although a vote could come as early as today.

NEW BEDFORD — A plan to redevelop a municipal golf course into a manufacturing park is one step closer to fruition, as the state senate today approved a land swap for conservation protections that will allow the project to move forward if it gets approved by the House.

On Thursday, the Massachusetts State Senate approved legislation filed by New Bedford Senator Mark Montigny to allow the city to redevelop the Whaling City Golf Course into a modern manufacturing campus.

The city council had formally asked the legislature for permission to redevelop 100 acres of the 275-acre Hathaway Road parcel, now home to the golf course, back in January.

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Plans for the proposed ‘Advanced Manufacturing Campus,’ as it is known, were first revealed in 2017, when city officials highlighted the economic potential of developing the space.

Mayor Jon Mitchell said the planned park will likely create more than 1,000 jobs in its one million square feet of industrial and office space, and could generate $2.7 million in annual tax revenues for the city.

The plans also include improvements to the golf facility, with a new clubhouse, parking lot, and reconfigured course.

Because the parcel is on protected land, New Bedford officials proposed a land swap to place a conservation restriction on 156 acres of a 226-acre parcel of land owned by the city on Woodcock Road in Dartmouth.

Massachusetts law requires approval from the legislature to ensure no conservation or recreation land is lost.

Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust will hold the conservation restriction on the Woodcock Road parcel, which is currently — and will continue to be — used as a rifle range.

Now that the project has been approved by the senate, it just needs approval from the house of representatives and a signature from Gov. Charlie Baker.

A press release from Sen. Montigny’s office noted that Thursday’s vote “represents a significant milestone for the project.”

“We will continue to work expeditiously so that shovels are in the ground in time to help boost our local economic recovery,” said Senator Montigny. 

“I want to thank the Mayor, our City Council, and all the interested stakeholders for their efforts to date. I especially want to thank Representatives Antonio Cabral and Paul Schmid for cosponsoring this bill as well as Representative Chris Markey for filing in the House. 

“We look forward to delivering this legislation to the Governor’s desk in the very near future,” he added.

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