WPI proposes to name a new street for legendary entrepreneur, industry leader, and WPI founder Ichabod Washburn. The street not only connects the new Gateway Park development with the rest of Worcester, it neatly bridges the city's economic past and future.
WORCESTER, Mass. – As the official opening of WPI's Life Sciences and Bioengineering Center at Gateway Park fast approaches (Sept. 17-21), a host of details are being finalized. Among them is a simple stretch of roadway that not only connects the park with the rest of Worcester, but neatly bridges the city's economic past and future. WPI has proposed naming the street Washburn Way after a legendary entrepreneur, industry leader, and a founder of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI).
Ichabod Washburn built his sprawling manufacturing complex, the largest wire-making operation in the world and a focal point of Worcester's thriving economy, on Grove Street, just a block from Gateway Park, an 11-acre development being built by WPI and the Worcester Business Development Corporation (WBDC) as a centerpiece for the life sciences-and-bioengineering–based economy that is already helping to make Worcester County the second-fastest–growing economy in Massachusetts.
Starting at Prescott Street, the new street runs between the recently completed WPI Life Sciences and Bioengineering Center, Gateway Park's first building, and a new parking garage, before ending at Garden Street. The Life Sciences and Bioengineering Center houses WPI's graduate research programs in biology, biotechnology, biochemistry, bioengineering, and related fields, as well as the WPI Bioengineering Institute, the university's Corporate and Professional Education Division, and the Massachusetts Biomedical Initiative (MBI)'s Gateway Incubator, which gives small entrepreneurial ventures a place to grow. When completed, Gateway Park will feature more than $250 million in private investment and approximately 750,000 square feet of research and development and office space geared to the life sciences.
"Ichabod Washburn exemplifies so many of the traits that we admire about the city of Worcester — its creative and entrepreneurial spirit, generous and hardworking citizens, and extraordinary support for higher education," says WPI President and CEO Dennis D. Berkey. "As a world-renowned industrialist and esteemed philanthropist, he left a shining mark on this city that will endure for generations. It would indeed fitting for his name to grace this new street, which in a very real sense connects the remarkable achievements of the industrial age that Washburn helped forge with the astounding advancements that will come from the biomedical revolution WPI is helping shape today at Gateway Park."