By Kevin Shalvey
PBN Staff Writer
FALL RIVER – City officials last week introduced an economic development plan, dubbed “Fall River Energy Enterprise,” that intends to spur economic growth through renewable energy projects and the restoration of historic mills.
The city would be a “regional leader in renewable energy,” according to Mayor Robert Correia’s office and the Fall River Office of Economic Development.
The plan includes restoring hydropower electricity through the construction of a new Quequechan River dam and waterfall and “repurposing” the buildings along the riverbanks to be used for research facilities and other businesses. The city wants to make the area between Battleship Cove and Point Gloria a “waterfront esplanade,” creating a tree-lined boulevard.
John K. Grosvenor, principal of Newport Collaborative Architects Inc., a Rhode Island firm involved with the designs, joined Correia in making the announcement.
“Historic preservation and adaptive reuse are the ultimate form of recycling and Fall River has more than 10 million square feet of mill space,” Grosvenor said. “These historic and unique structures are crafted from Fall River granite and load-bearing masonry and are ideally suited for a wide range of uses. The repurposing of the mills will create jobs in their reconstruction and will attract business to generate additional tax revenue for the city.”
At the April 7 event introducing the economic development plan, U.S. Reps. Barney Frank, D-Fall River, and James McGovern, D-Worcester, spoke in favor of the project and said they will push for at least $750,000 in federal funding, according to Correia’s office.
“Working with Mayor Correia and his plans for Fall River is an important part of my job and I will be working along with Congressman McGovern to do all that we can to provide federal support for this project,” Frank said.