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A Rialto Check

MCC Administration Alum Niki Tsongas came back to her professional alma mater today, this time bearing a check for nearly $200,000 to launch a study and design of the Boston and Maine Railroad Depot, better known around Lowell as the Rialto building.

Photo:  From left, Lowell City Mayor James Milinazzo, Lowell City Manager Bernie Lynch, State Representative Kevin Murphy, MCC President Carole Cowan, and State Representative David Nangle accept the Rialto funding check from Congresswoman Niki Tsongas.

Congresswoman Tsongas, who had previously served as a dean at the college, was able to secure $194,800 for MCC to conduct a study and design plan for the property through Economic Development Initiative funding included in the FY10 Omnibus Appropriations bill.  The late Senator Edward M. Kennedy, as well as his replacement, Paul Kirk, and Senator John Kerry also helped move the funding through the federal appropriations process.

The building, at 240 Central St., Lowell, has been vacant since 1987.  It was saved from demolition in 1989 by the Lowell Historic Preservation Commission.  The Lowell National Historic Park was responsible for the property and invested more than $2 million into renovating its exterior.  MCC acquired the building in exactly the same procedure by which it acquired the Federal Building in Kearney Square.  The college filed an application and received approval to acquire the buildnig through the General Services Administration and the U.S. Department of Education through the public benefit process.  Currently, MCC is in line for a $45 million expansion through a state capital bond bill, which is currently pending.  Within that bill is an earmark for $11 million for performing arts programs in Lowell.  When the funding is secure, MCC is looking to locate the college's dance and performing arts programs in the Rialto, along with other Humanities programs.

Several members of the Humanities faculty, as well as some of the college's art students, attended Friday's check ceremony, along with business neighbors, State Representatives Kevin Murphy and David Nangle, members of the Lowell City Council, and other MCC administrators.

President Cowan, speaking to a crowd at Friday's event, said she was hopeful that the study and design will open the doors to several new opportunities for the property.  Specifically, the building had been deemed ineligible to receive any stimulus funding, because the study and design had not been performed as of yet.

'This money serves as a launchpad for so much for this college," said Cowan.  "We literally have run out of space on our city campus, and are constantly looking for ways to expand our footprint.  The Rialto building will allow us to expand our arts program, and bring us into a Hamilton Canal neighborhood that is on the move.  We are excited to be part of that JAM Plan growth, and hope that the college can serve as a welcoming ambassador to visitors entering that part of the downtown."

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Posted: Friday, January 08, 2010 2:24 PM by MCC Blog Admin


Carolyn Delehanty said:

How Exciting!

# January 8, 2010 3:32 PM

Pat Hunt said:

KUDOS to Congresswoman Tsongas and MCC!!!!!!!!!

This building is so magnificent - I can not wait to see the end product of this awesome adventure of revitalizing the Rialto building.. I look forward to seeing more of MCC students' artistic creativity proudly displayed in the building windows. This project will tie in nicely with Lowell's JAM Plan-We have some great restaurants, a parking garage, a small shopping area-all located within walking distance from the Rialto.

Pat Hunt

# January 8, 2010 3:40 PM

George DeLuca said:

Perhaps the programming phase will consider opportunities to partner with other arts and performance entities that may spring up in the City in the near future.

What is the next level for the artist community in Lowell? International Kerouac Center? World Class Art School? Sound Stage?

Congratulations to MCC and best wishes on your new adventure!

# January 11, 2010 7:07 PM
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