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November 15, 2019

Canal District parking to be remade with $3.5M grant

Photo | Grant Welker The Pickett Lot off Green Street in Worcester will be made into a gateway into the future Polar Park baseball stadium.

A $3.5-million state infrastructure grant announced Thursday will create what officials said will be a gateway to Worcester's planned Polar Park baseball stadium.

The triangle-shaped site off Green Street next to the raised railroad track overpass will be remade with new paving and sidewalks and be available for retail, food and entertainment uses. The lot, which is about two-thirds of an acre, will include a decorative water feature in tribute to the Blackstone Canal once flowing through the neighborhood and giving it its name.

The city-owned property at 45 Green St. has been known as the General Pickett parking lot, but it'll now be used as a way for people to get to the ballpark from downtown and the Union Station area. The ballpark, in early stages of construction and planned to open by April 2021, has been called a catalyst for new development in the Canal District.
The new state funding was part of $72 million in MassWorks infrastructure grants announced by the Gov. Charlie Baker Administration awarded to 36 projects. It furthers what is already a substantial public investment in and around the ballpark, which will host the Pawtucket Red Sox.

The city has borrowed $101 million to build the ballpark on city-owned land on the north side of Madison Street and has created other incentives for a mixed-use development across the street, including waiving $2 million in permitting fees and tax breaks for two hotels.

The state has pitched in considerably, too. A $35-million MassWorks grant announced last year will pay for housing incentives and a parking garage at the mixed-use site where developer Denis Dowdle has proposed a $240-million project with residences, hotel rooms, offices and retail space. The state is funding a $16-million major renovation of Kelley Square about two blocks from Polar Park.

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