ESLC hon­ored with Bright Lights Award

Dorchester Star - - Front Page - By VIC­TO­RIA WIN­GATE vwingate@ches­pub.com

CAM­BRIDGE — Comptroller Peter Fran­chot vis­ited the his­toric Phillips Pack­ing Plant on Mon­day, July 31, to present the Eas­ton-based Eastern Shore Land Con­ser­vancy with the 2017 Bright Lights Award for In­no­va­tion and En­trepreneur­ship.

The cer­e­mony was held at the his­toric pack­ing plant, where the ESLC has un­der­taken the mon­u­men­tal task of con­serv­ing and re­ha­bil­i­tat­ing the last ves­tige of the Phillips em­pire in Cam­bridge.

The “Bright Lights Award” pays trib­ute to busi­nesses, non­profit lead­ers, and or­ga­ni­za­tions that foster in­no­va­tion in their fields. More specif­i­cally, the award rec­og­nizes and cel­e­brates in­no­va­tion in the pri­vate and non­profit sec­tors that strengthen Mary­land’s econ­omy, gen­er­ate jobs and tax rev­enue, and

de­velop new ideas that more ef­fec­tively de­liver ser­vices and prod­ucts within the mar­ket­place.

“The Pack­ing House vi­sion builds around the re­gion’s re­source-based in­dustries and en­tr­preneurial strength in food and farm­ing,” ESLC Di­rec­tor of Con­ser­va­tion Katie Parks-White said. “Just as the Pack­ing House once an­chored the world food pro­cess­ing in­dus­try, it will again be an an­chor for the next gen­er­a­tion of food and farm­in­gre­lated in­no­va­tion.

“By clus­ter­ing to­gether a dense, di­verse and lively mix of peo­ple, busi­nesses and pro­grams, the Pack­ing House will drive eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment through job cre­ation, ed­u­ca­tion and work­force train­ing.”

Fran­chot said the project is not a Repub­li­can or Demo­cratic project, but a Mary­land project, and a com­mon sense, good ex­pen­di­ture of tax cred­its.

“We have a lot of big com­pa­nies and won­der­ful univer­si­ties, we have all sorts of as­sets, great hos­pi­tals and all of that, but it’s th­ese types of projects that I be­lieve re­ally sig­nal the fu­ture of the state,” Fran­chot said. “I want to par­tic­u­larly thank the Eastern Shore Land Con­ser­vancy for hav­ing the in­no­va­tive spirit to pick up this project and move it for­ward.

“This is a chance to thank the pri­vate and not-for-profit sec­tors for do­ing some­thing that, frankly, the gov­ern­ment can’t do all the time. I think this project will gen­er­ate jobs and tax rev­enue, and de­velop new ideas that ef­fec­tively de­liver ser­vices and prod­ucts to the mar­ket­place.”

ESLC Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Rob Et­gen ac­cepted the award of be­half of the or­ga­ni­za­tion, and thanked the many part­ners that con­tinue to work with ESLC on the Phillips Pack­ing project.

“It’s so great to hear all this op­ti­mism for Cam­bridge. We feel it, and it’s so nice to hear you folks feel it at the state, and of course every­one here that lives in Cam­bridge re­ally gets it,” Et­gen said. “We’re hon­ored to be a small part in this project and Can­nery Park next door, but we’re es­pe­cially hon­ored to be rec­og­nized for en­trepreneur­ship and in­no­va­tion here. We don’t think of our­selves from the in­side-out that way.

“An­other group la­belled us ‘edge-walk­ers’ within the land trust com­mu­nity be­cause we do dirt. We do farms, forests, birds, bees, and things like that, so to be do­ing projects like this is sort of walk­ing on the edge.”

Mayor of Cam­bridge Vic­to­ria Jack­son-Stan­ley, County Coun­cil Pres­i­dent Ricky Travers, Se­na­tor Ad­die Eckardt, Sec­re­tary of Hous­ing and Com­mu­nity De­vel­op­ment Ken­neth Holt, and Startup Mary­land Di­rec­tor Mike Binko each shared brief re­marks con­grat­u­lat­ing ESLC on the project and the recog­ni­tion.

“For many decades, the Phillips Pack­ing Com­pany was the lifeblood for gen­er­a­tions of Cam­bridge res­i­dents and was in­ter­wo­ven into the city’s rich his­tory and cul­ture,” Fran­chot said. “When the com­pany left Cam­bridge in the 1960s, they took with them the en­ergy that helped fuel this city’s econ­omy for so many years and to­day, thanks to the ESLC’s bold vi­sion, Phillips Fac­tory F will come alive and once again play a vi­tal role in Cam­bridge’s econ­omy.

“Cam­bridge is in the midst of a re­nais­sance, and when this project is com­pleted, the ware­house will be­come, I be­lieve, one of the crown jewels of Cam­bridge. It will be a hub for in­no­va­tion and en­trepreneurial ac­tiv­ity. I be­lieve it will be a foun­da­tion for many years to come.”

In it’s hey­day, Phillips Pack­ing Com­pany was a sprawl­ing, 60-acre cam­pus. Now only Fac­tory F re­mains, and the ESLC, along with part­ners such as Cross Street Part­ners, Preser­va­tion Mary­land, the City of Cam­bridge and Dorch­ester County, have been work­ing diligently to see the build­ing saved and the sur­round­ing area re­vi­tal­ized.

“We’re view­ing this project as an op­por­tu­nity to cat­alyze, or lever­age for com­pre­hen­sive re­vi­tal­iza­tion, for the area re­ferred to as the “pack­ing district,” which in­cludes the park, the build­ing, and the fac­tory hous­ing that was con­structed by the Phillips com­pany in the 1900s, and the greater area around it,” Parks-White said. “We’ve re­ally been fo­cused on build­ing eco­nomic op­por­tu­nity around the food and farm­ing in­dustries on the Eastern Shore within this build­ing.”

An ad­ja­cent 6.6-acre par­cel of land was also ac­quired as part of the project, and will be­come Can­nery Park. A few of the uses planned for the build­ing once re­stored in­clude event space, a kitchen and food busi­ness in­cu­ba­tor, shared use of­fice space, and a mar­ket.

PHOTO BY VIC­TO­RIA WIN­GATE

State and lo­cal dig­ni­taries were present to con­grat­u­late ESLC on their award. (L-R: ESLC Con­ser­va­tion Di­rec­tor Katie Parks White, City Com­mis­sioner Robert Han­son, County Coun­cil­man Ricky Travers, ESLC Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Rob Et­gen, Comptroller Peter Fran­chot, Reg­is­ter of Wills Doris Lewis, Sec­re­tary of Hous­ing and Com­mu­nity De­vel­op­ment Ken­neth Holt, Se­na­tor Ad­die Eckardt, Cam­bridge Mayor Vic­to­ria Jack­son-Stan­ley, Del­e­gate Johnny Mautz, and Andy Har­ris rep­re­sen­ta­tive Denise Love­lady.

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