GE has pledged $1.5 million in support of the Mill River Park and Greenway, an ambitious downtown Stamford urban park in its design and construction planning stages. Organizers envision the project as a regional attraction after it is completed.

“This donation is based on our strong belief that the project is essential to the success of Stamford and the greater region,” Jay Ireland, president and CEO of Stamford-based GE Asset Management, said in a statement. “We are pleased that we can help, and hope that other corporations will step forward with similar support.” 

The Mill River Collaborative is leading a capital campaign with a goal of $20 million. Before this pledge, $4 million had been raised. A gala benefit fundraiser is planned for June.

The collaborative is a nonprofit entity that has been charged by the city with developing, maintaining and operating the Mill River Park and Greenway over a 10-year period. Among its responsibilities is securing private capital to augment city funding.

Organizers compare the project to a smaller-scale Central Park-like space. Bids will likely be accepted in early summer for the first phase of construction. Plans call for construction, along the river between Main and Broad streets, to begin later in the summer and be completed by late fall 2012.

Although some had hoped to break ground as early as this spring, GE’s pledge is “an exciting step forward,” said Arthur Selkowitz, Mill River Collaborative Board chair. “GE has shown its commitment to the vision of a world-class urban park that can transform the quality of life in Stamford for generations to come. We are very grateful, and anticipate that this generous gift will give us significant momentum as we move forward with our fundraising.”

Mayor Michael Pavia called the park “a model for public/private partnership and a key civic priority."  The city is very pleased to have GE among the first major corporations to participate in the capital campaign. "GE has been a superb partner with Stamford, first with significant contributions to our schools and now in helping us create a major new green space in the heart of Stamford downtown.”

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