FALL RIVER — Her first day on the job Monday as Fall River Redevelopment Authority’s economic development director, Maria Marasco hit the ground running in Boston at an offshore wind conference.
“I got to promote the city and made new contacts with new companies that are interested in coming to Fall River,” Marasco said Thursday, sitting in her new office on the sixth floor of Government Center.
Marasco, an attorney with an MBA, said she handed out about 400 of her new business cards at the Boston conference.
The RDA hired Marasco, formerly southeast regional director for the state Office of Business Development, May 22 after a public interview. She starts with a three-year contract and a $130,000 annual salary.
RDA Chairwoman Kara O’Connell said she would like to see Marasco “dig in” to the development of the City Pier, get an update on the status of the future expansion of Route 79 and attract to the city companies connected to the wind industry.
“We’ve touched base in the past couple of weeks and Maria feels that there is money that the RDA can tap into on the state and federal level," O'Connell said. "We can see what’s available and she can start educating the board on what’s out there.”
Marasco, who has been a member of the Massachusetts offshore wind team, said in addition to attending the wind energy conference, she has been getting up to speed on the status of RDA projects.
She also is focused on completing tasks she said need to be done before the end of RDA’s fiscal year June 30.
In addition, Marasco said she is beginning talks with companies interested in locating in Fall River.
“It’s been a whirlwind,” she said.
The economic development director’s position will be partially funded through the city’s Community Development Agency for job creation efforts.
The city has been without a dedicated economic development entity for nearly two years after Mayor Jasiel Correia II took away Community Development Block Grant funding from the former Fall River Office of Economic Development in July 2017.
The de-funding came after a public announcement by the former FROED board that Correia was under investigation by the FBI and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development after federal agents approached Kenneth Fiola Jr., who heads the economic development nonprofit now known as Bristol County Economic Development Consultants.
Since then, Community Development Director Michael Dion and City Administrator Cathy Ann Viveiros have temporarily taken over economic development duties and provided the RDA with administrative services.
Email Jo C. Goode at email@example.com.