WHALE Receives Major Grant from a Newport Foundation

March 4, 2016

The 1772 Foundation, based in Newport, RI, a national leader in the field of historic properties redevelopment programs, awarded 23 grants totaling $1,325,000 at its recent quarterly meeting. Grants ranged in amount from $15,000 to $150,000. The Waterfront Historic Area League (WHALE) of New Bedford received the second highest award in the country at $150,000.

The 1772 Foundation grant award to WHALE will support several projects that will be under construction this year, according to Teri Bernert, WHALE’s Executive Director.  These include both 139 and 141 Union Street, two historic commercial buildings in the heart of downtown which will be restored for a mixed-use development to include the Co-Creative Center, a creative economy initiative.  WHALE will also be using the funds for two first-time homebuyer foreclosure historic restoration projects.  Construction will start on the first of these projects in the spring at 149 Allen Street.  “These historic restoration projects will leverage over $3 Million into downtown New Bedford and its’ surrounding neighborhoods, helping to stimulate the economic development of the community”, says Bernert.

According to Mary Anthony, Executive Director of the 1772 Foundation, “Historic properties redevelopment programs, sometimes known as revolving funds, greatly increase the number of historic buildings we can save and put back into use by the community. Unlike more reactive, traditional preservation models, they are proactive and robust; they move at the speed of the market, using the same tools and financing as for-profit developers.”

Danforth Ely, president of The 1772 Foundation, noted, “We have been promoting the relationship between historic properties redevelopment programs and economic development for many years.” Andy Burnes, Vice President of WHALE explains “WHALE utilizes its Revolving Loan Fund so the organization can react quickly to asses, save and stabilize historic buildings in New Bedford that are in danger of demolition while working to put together the necessary sources of funding to ultimately restore them and determine a reuse that will benefit the local economy”.

The 1772 Foundation works to ensure the safe passage of our historic buildings and farmland to future generations. More information about The 1772 Foundation may be found at www.1772foundation.org.