Holy Cross to Support Future of Blackstone Valley Gateway Park and Visitor Center

College partners with Congressman McGovern, Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor, City and State Officials

February 20th, 2014 by 

Blackstone press conference
From left, John Anderson, interim director of government and community relations at Holy Cross; Devon Kurtz, marketing coordinator of the Visitor Center; and Donna Williams, chair of the Blackstone Valley Corridor.

At a press conference at Quinsigamond Elementary School today James P. McGovern, D-Worcester was joined by city officials, the Department of Transportation (DOT), the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor, and the College of the Holy Cross to announce plans for the revitalization and creation of the Worcester/Blackstone Valley Gateway Park and Visitor Center.

At the press conference, DCR Commissioner Jack Murray and Mass. Highway Administrator Frank DePaola announced plans for the construction and occupancy of the Visitor Center.  John Anderson, interim director of government and community relations at Holy Cross, and Donna Williams, chair of the Blackstone Valley Corridor, also announced a joint three-year commitment to fund a coordinator position for the development of the Visitor Center. While the Visitor Center is in the process of being designed and constructed, this position will be housed on the Holy Cross campus and the Corridor’s offices in Woonsocket, Mass.

Other project details announced at the event included a bike spur to connect with the Blackstone River Bikeway, and new sidewalks on McKeon Road.

“The Blackstone Gateway Visitor Center, including the Park, bikeways, new sidewalks, and the Quinsigamond Bike Spur, are a signature project for the City of Worcester and Central Massachusetts,” said McGovern. “The tireless dedication of the Quinsigamond Village residents has made this project a reality, and I know that it will serve as a catalyst for future economic development in this vital gateway to the city.”

“We look forward to the development and growth of this exciting initiative—and are delighted to play an active and engaged role,” said Anderson.  “Our own students, faculty, and staff will benefit from new programming and resources.  Further, all colleges in the area, as well as visitors from throughout the region and nation will learn more about an important part of Worcester’s proud heritage.”

Devon Kurtz has been hired as the marketing coordinator and will be responsible for guiding the programming, design, and promotion of the Visitor Center and will promote the development and utilization of the site in concert with the Blackstone Gateway Parkway.

A Worcester resident, Kurtz has more the 15 years of experience in strategic marketing and visitor engagement for museums. Most recently Kurtz was the director of education for the Higgins Armory Museum for the last six years, where he initiated a new museum ideal incorporating a combined exhibit and interpretation mission; created a visitor centered model of exhibit design; lead traditional marking initiatives and utilized digital media; and directed the conception, organization, and delivery of a broad range of formal educational programs to the public, specialized audiences, schools, and colleges. Prior to that he was the director of education and interpretation at the Concord Museum and spent 10 years as the education coordinator at Old Sturbridge Village. He received his B.S. from Fitchburg State College.

“We are thrilled that Devon has agreed to join our team, and are excited by the leadership, insight and abilities that he will contribute to the development of the Visitor Center in Quinsigamond Village,” said Williams. “His combined education/curatorial philosophy results in exhibits and programming that comes alive through the visitor experience.”

This latest partnership is one example of Holy Cross’ ongoing commitment to support projects and programs that contribute to the quality of life in the City and the region. Partnerships range from the College working with the City, local business owner John W.S. Creedon Jr., and the Futures League, to bring summer baseball back to Fitton Field to a 5-year, $400,000 investment to support the Library Express, “Libby,” a state-of-the-art mobile library serving Worcester schools, neighborhoods, and community centers.

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For additional information, please contact Cristal Steuer at 508-793-2419.

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