RI elected officials announce large development project in Blackstone Valley

An artist's rendering of the new Conant Thread District.

The Conant Thread District is a new transportation hub, as well as a housing and economic development site, that stretches over 150 acres in Pawtucket and Central Falls.

State and city officials want to preserve the historic relevancy of the area, along with revitalizing it, to attract new residents and businesses.

“We have about a million square feet of vacant property and that’s just right for development," said Central Falls Mayor James Diossa, a Democrat.

The jewel of it all is a new train and bus station set to break ground by the end of the summer and be ready by 2020.

“We want people out there in the development world to know that this is a great community," said Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien, another Democrat. "We have this new opportunity here.”

Will the new train station attract developers? Will those developers turn some of the old, vacant mill buildings into loft apartments? Will new business set up shop in the area and thrive?

State and federal dollars are in place to make it happen.

While $5.6 million has been secured from the federal highway administration, $13.1 million more is coming from a TIGER grant. On the state side, $23 million from the state, another $7 million from RIPTA and $3 million from Pawtucket and Central Falls.

“It combines historic preservation. It combines housing. It combines economic development,” Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse said of the project.

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