Orange gets $200K for parking lot

  • Massachusetts Senate President Stanley Rosenberg, foreground, and Massachusetts Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash talk with people in Orange prior to the announcement of a $200,000 MassWorks Infra-structure Program to build a new parking lot for the Orange Innovation Center. Kathy Reinig (wearing a baseball cap), the chairwoman of the Orange Board of Selectmen and sole proprietor of a business she operates out of her home, spoke at the ceremony as well. Recorder Staff/Domenic Poli

Recorder Staff
Thursday, August 25, 2016

ORANGE — About a year ago, Jack Dunphy, owner of the Orange Innovation Center, welcomed a pair of guests who admired his 131 West Main St. business incubator and asked how they could help it succeed. What his small business tenants needed badly was more parking, he told Senate President Stanley Rosenberg and Massachusetts Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash that day.

On Thursday they were back, to join Dunphy at a ceremony to announce a $200,000 grant that will help build an additional 40 parking spaces.

“Thanking you is not enough,” Dunphy said to Ash and Rosenberg for their help in securing the MassWorks Infrastructure Program grant. “We now feel we have a responsibility to create more jobs here. So, when you come back to visit us again ... you will find a full new parking lot, with a beehive of people working away, making who knows what. You’ll have to come back and find out.

“And because there will be much new business and new employees, hopefully you will trouble finding a parking spot,” he added, to a round of laughter and applause.

Dunphy said the parking lot will be across the street from the innovation center, where a vacant dilapidated house and an occupied trailer stand. He said he purchased the house a year ago and the trailer earlier this month, and both will be demolished for the new parking lot. He said he also purchased and renovated another house in Orange so the residents of the trailer will have a new place to live.

Brianna Drohen, the innovation center’s development director, said construction will likely begin by the end of this year and hopefully be finished by the spring. She said the parking lot will also have a couple of spaces for buses. Dunphy, who purchased the building from its founder in May 2013, said the promise of parking spaces will entice additional businesses to move in. There are 40 small businesses in the building now.

Ash said the center serves as a model for other communities in Massachusetts. He said he grew up in tough times in Chelsea and identifies with the Quabbin area.

“We didn’t have a lot, but we had each other, and that was really powerful. When I come to Orange, I feel that. I feel that sense of community, that makes me want to contribute to it,” he said. “I will tell you with all sincerity … I love this place, I love all of you, I love the businesses that are here. I love the sense of community that is here.”

Rosenberg told Ash the $200,000 will be well spent in Orange, which he said is bursting with activity.

State Rep. Susannah Whipps Lee and Kathy Reinig, chairwoman of the Orange Board of Selectmen, also spoke at the ceremony.

Reining, who is the sole proprietor of a business she operates out of her home, said she feels the town’s future lies in micro-businesses.

“Trying to bring in someone who’s going to hire 500 people right off the bat is setting ourselves up for failure, because those companies may not stay and those 500 people are out of work,” she said. “Businesses that we start here tend to stay here.”

You can reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com
or 413-772-0261, ext. 258
On Twitter: @DomenicPoli