Thursday, November 2, 2023, a very large and enthusiastic crowd gathered on Academy Street to celebrate the Groundbreaking Ceremony for the Fitchburg Arts Community. While the temperature at 10 am was a chilly 39 degrees, guests arrived with warm hearts, ready to celebrate the long-awaited milestone. NewVue Board Member Derek Craig welcomed guests and jumpstarted a series of meaningful comments from several public officials, funders, and others who have played a large role in moving the project forward. “This project is going to be more than just buildings. It’s going to be a canvas for creativity, culture, and connection, with 68 spaces for artists to live, create, and showcase their work. We are not just building homes; we’re crafting a vibrant hub that will enrich and elevate Fitchburg’s art scene,” said Craig. While construction equipment could be heard humming in the background, Mayor Steven DiNatale, State Senator John Cronin, and State Representative Micheal Kushmerek each spoke to the value of the Fitchburg Arts Community and the stamina of NewVue, the City, and partners to see this project through ten years of progress and challenges.
Ed Agustus, Secretary of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities, and Dan Rivera, President and CEO MassDevelopment, made time to celebrate with the city and offered their congratulations for the unique reuse of three historic buildings and the impact of the project in our community and throughout the Commonwealth. In a follow-up to the event, Dan Rivera said “It was an honor to take part in this celebration, which was the culmination of 10-plus years of hard work by NewVue Communities and so many partners. Breaking ground on the Fitchburg Arts Community was an incredible milestone, and we can’t wait to come together again soon to cut the ribbon on this important project.”
NewVue Executive Director Marc Dohan led the ceremony, and while not so tall in stature, it was clear that he has a heart as big Texas for affordable housing projects and, more specifically, what the Fitchburg Arts Community will mean for the residents and businesses of the City of Fitchburg and the region.
Below is a list of all event speakers. Each offered congratulations for the accomplishments thus far, comments that will clearly fuel the work of everyone moving forward.
Marc Dohan, Executive Director, NewVue
Derek Craig, Resident of North of Main, NewVue Board Member
Stephen DiNatale, Mayor, City of Fitchburg
John Cronin, State Senator
Michael Kushmerek, State Representative
Jake Mastrandrea Aid to Representative Lori Trahan
Ed Augustus, Secretary of Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities
Dan Rivera, CEO, MassDevelopment
Roger Herzog, Executive Director, CDAC
Mark Teden, Vice President of Rental Housing and MassHousing
Moddie Turay, CEO, Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation
Nick Capasso, Executive Director, Fitchburg Art Museum
Michael Williams, Relationship Manager, NeighborWorks America
Tom Gray, Board President, NewVue
Dolores Thibault-Muñoz, Deputy Director, NewVue0