The City of Worcester is the new home for the Boston Red Sox AAA affiliate, thanks to a commitment from the Baker-Polito Administration and municipal leaders to redevelop Worcester’s Canal District through public infrastructure, market rate housing and roadway improvements.
The announcement was made on Friday, August 17, as Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito joined the City of Worcester, private developers and the Red Sox to announce the state’s commitment for a redevelopment project in Worcester’s Canal District.
The state has committed $35 million over the next two to three years, which will support new market rate housing through the Housing Development Incentive Program and support public infrastructure including the construction of a new parking garage funded through the MassWorks Infrastructure Program. The 250-500 space city-owned garage will be located adjacent to the proposed ballpark, the construction of which will be funded by the City of Worcester. The new garage will also serve existing and planned commercial and residential development in the Canal District.
Additionally, the state is engaging with the City to address public safety and traffic concerns in the Kelley Square area and is in the process of designing transportation improvements.
Governor Charlie Baker said his Administration “is committed to working with our partners at the local level to support economic development opportunities across the Commonwealth to create jobs and strengthen communities. We are pleased to continue to invest in the City of Worcester and look forward to working together to welcome a premier professional ball team to the state.”
Lieutenant Governor Polito called the project “an exceptional opportunity for growth and development for Worcester and for the Commonwealth with the announcement of this ball club planning to relocate to Central Massachusetts. Governor Baker and I are proud to support the revitalization of Worcester through various economic development tools and in partnership with the City, we continue to be focused on the Canal District and Kelley Square.”
Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash called Worcester “a prime example of a community that uses all the available tools in the state’s economic development toolbox to realize its vision. As the city embarks on this large-scale redevelopment, we are fully behind the efforts to solidify the Canal District’s place as a ‘live, work, play’ destination.”
The state has made a series of investments in Worcester’s Canal District to improve and accelerate the growth of this emerging commercial and residential area, including the new Fidelity Ice Rink, the Harding Green public market, The Edge at Union Station, student housing, and a variety of road reconstruction and streetscape projects.
The Baker-Polito Administration’s support has extended beyond Canal District to other important projects throughout the city, including supporting business incubator space at 44 Portland Street and the redevelopment of Hanover Theater.
Additionally, the state has provided over $43 million in MassWorks infrastructure grants to support projects throughout Worcester to improve the Main Street Central Business District, relocate Stearns Tavern, upgrades to the Front and Center section of City Square, and the long-term redevelopment of the Nurses’ Wing at the Worcester Senior Center.
In August 2016, Governor Baker signed An Act Relative to Job Creation and Workforce Development (H.4569), which included a $500 million reauthorization of the MassWorks program to fund investment in critical infrastructure, a significant commitment by the Commonwealth. Last week, the Governor signed economic development legislation that includes an additional $250 million in new MassWorks authorization.