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Wildlife Sanctuary Visitor Center Undergoes Renovation Thanks to Cultural Facilities Fund

April 10, 2012

Kelsey Abbruzzese, MassDevelopment, 617-330-2086 & 617-448-9077
Greg Liakos, Mass. Cultural Council, 617-727-3668 x343
Michael P. O’Connor, Mass Audubon, 781-259-2134

MassDevelopment and the Massachusetts Cultural Council have provided a $119,000 Cultural Facilities Fund grant to Mass Audubon, the largest membership-based conservation organization in New England. The organization used the grant to renovate the visitor center at the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary in Topsfield. The renovation includes a new entry, reception area, gift shop, and fully accessible bathroom.

“Mass Audubon protects open space across the Commonwealth,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Marty Jones. “We’re pleased this grant will help the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary visitor center become more open and accessible to all those who wish to enjoy the North Shore’s natural wonders.”

The Ipswich River sanctuary, one of Mass Audubon’s largest, has 12 miles of hiking trails and eight miles of river for canoeing. Programs include bird watching and studying vernal pools. This grant is the third Cultural Facilities Fund grant to the conservation organization, which protects almost 35,000 acres of land. Other grants supported projects at Drumlin Farm in Lincoln and the Joppa Flats Education Center in Newburyport.

“MassDevelopment and the Massachusetts Cultural Council, through the Cultural Facilities Fund, have been committed supporters of our mission to connect people with nature,” said Mass Audubon President Laura Johnson. “Education and awareness of the state’s rich and diverse cultural resources are key elements in this work, and we applaud MassDevelopment and the Council’s important initiatives.”

MassDevelopment and the Massachusetts Cultural Council administer the Cultural Facilities Fund, an initiative of the Commonwealth to increase public and private investment in cultural facilities throughout the state. Created by the Massachusetts Legislature in 2006, the Fund offers capital grants, feasibility and technical assistance grants, and systems replacement grants for eligible nonprofits engaged in the arts, humanities, or interpretive sciences. The Fund has awarded more than $44 million in grants to more than 200 cultural organizations across Massachusetts. For more information, visit the MassDevelopment and Massachusetts Cultural Council websites.

MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, works with businesses, nonprofits, financial institutions, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2011, MassDevelopment financed or managed more than 300 projects generating investment of $3.8 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are projected to create more than 10,000 jobs (2,547 permanent and 8,129 construction), and build or rehabilitate more than 1,000 residential units.