$10 million state grant could trigger a second Industrial Revolution in Lowell

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Lowell Sun

LOWELL -- It's cut from a different cloth than the looms and lofty brick buildings of the 19th century, but the textile industry could be making a come-back in the Mill City.

Gov. Charlie Baker announced on Wednesday a $10 million grant for the creation of UMass Lowell's new Fabric Discovery Center, which will provide research and testing space in the Hamilton Canal Innovation District for academics and companies on the cutting-edge of fabrics and flexible electronics.

"There was a feeling at one time that textiles were part of Lowell's past and wouldn't be part of its future," said state Sen. Eileen Donoghue, adding that the Fabric Discovery Center will put Lowell at the forefront of the new industrial revolution.

"We can adapt to change and overcome challenges that lie ahead, no matter how daunting the might seem," she said.

The state is providing an additional $1.3 million grant for the center to acquire equipment necessary to test and develop projects in development by three Massachusetts companies.

During the announcement on Wednesday, Baker, Donoghue, UMass President Mary Meehan, City Manager Kevin Murphy, and others touted the new center as an example of government, academia, and business collaborating to usher in the future.

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