- Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund is a state program administered by MassDevelopment and the Massachusetts Cultural Council that fosters the growth of the creative economy by supporting building projects in the nonprofit arts, humanities, and sciences
- Central Mass grant recipients announced at press conference on June 23, 2016; awards totaling $1.5 million
- EcoTarium funds to be used to purchase and install cooling equipment and emergency stand-by generator
WORCESTER, MASS. – The EcoTarium, New England’s leading science and nature center, has been awarded $300,000, the maximum amount, from the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund (CFF) to purchase and install cooling equipment and an emergency stand-by generator. This award, along with other CFF grant recipients in Worcester County, was announced by state and city officials at a press conference at the Worcester Pop-up located at 20 Franklin Street on Thursday, June 23, 2016.
The EcoTarium recently decommissioned its outdated cogeneration power plant and connected to the electrical grid. In doing so, the EcoTarium was no longer able to produce steam required to run the old cooling equipment, therefore it needed to be replaced. Funds from this CFF award will help provide high-efficiency and low-maintenance cooling equipment that generates air conditioning in the EcoTarium’s museum, and an emergency stand-by generator with capacity to support the campus in the event of power failure.
EcoTarium President Joseph P. Cox said, “It is an honor to be a Cultural Facilities Fund grant recipient. The ongoing support from the CFF through MassDevelopment and the Massachusetts Cultural Council is not only an investment in EcoTarium operations that positively impacts visitors and wildlife, but an even greater investment in the Worcester community from a cultural perspective.”
CFF grants support projects that create jobs in construction and cultural tourism; expand access and education in the arts, humanities, and sciences; and improve the quality of life in cities and towns across the Commonwealth. A total of $9.3 million in new capital funds were awarded in 2016.
“For nearly a decade CFF grants have fueled our creative sector in communities across the Commonwealth,” said Anita Walker, executive director, Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC). At a June 23, 2016 press conference, Ms. Walker also announced CFF awards to the following Central Massachusetts organizations: New Garden Park ($300,000), Town of Berlin ($242,000), Town of Royalston ($183,000), Worcester County Mechanics Association ($163,000), Worcester Historical Museum ($100,000), First Parish Meeting House Preservation Society ($97,000), Mount Wachusett Community College ($49,600), Tower Hill Botanical Garden ($35,000), Worcester Art Museum ($30,000), and Fitchburg Historical Society ($24,250).
This is the fifth and largest CFF grant the EcoTarium has received. In 2008, the museum received a Capital Projects grant for $51,917 to reduce high energy usage by its power plant and thus operating expenditures. This was followed in 2009 by a Feasibility and Technical Assistance grant of $18,750 to assess connection to the electrical grid and a $6,000 grant to partially fund a 20-year capital needs assessment the EcoTarium’s building and mechanical systems, including its Power Plant. Most recently, in 2013 the EcoTarium was awarded a $244,290 CFF grant for connection to the electrical grid.
About the Massachusetts Cultural Council
The Massachusetts Cultural Council is a state agency supporting the arts, humanities, and sciences to improve the quality of life in Massachusetts and its communities. The MCC pursues this mission through grants, services, and advocacy for nonprofit cultural organizations, schools, communities and artists.
EcoTarium is New England's leading museum of science and nature, an indoor-outdoor experience dedicated to inspiring a passion for science and nature in visitors of all ages. Founded in 1825, it has been a leader in informal science and nature education for nearly 200 years, and today welcomes more than 144,000 visitors per year. Highlights of the 55-acre campus include a museum building with three floors of interactive exhibits, the Alden Digital Planetarium: A National Geographic Theater, daily Science Discovery programs, live animal habitats, nature trails through forest and meadow, seasonal narrow-gauge railroad Explorer Express Train, seasonal Tree Canopy Walkway, and its expansive interactive outdoor exhibit, Nature Explore®.
The EcoTarium, located at 222 Harrington Way in Worcester, Mass., is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; Sundays 12 noon to 5:00 p.m. Admission is $15 for adults, $10 for children 2-18, $10 for seniors 65+ and students with ID, and children under 2 are free. WOO Pass holders receive $2 off admission for up to four people. Planetarium shows, Tree Canopy Walkway and Explorer Express Train require additional admission. Parking is free. For more information, visit ecotarium.org.
Photo Caption: EcoTarium Receives $300,000 Massachusetts Cultural Council Facilities Fund Grant; L-R: Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, Massachusetts Cultural Council Executive Director Anita Walker, and EcoTarium President Joseph Cox.
Charlene L. Leith-Bushey
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