The Gateway Cities Journal
News and information for leaders who care about Gateway Cities

Working together to empower our communities 
On July 31, Governor Baker, Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Walker, Education Secretary Jim
Peyser, and I attended a roundtable discussion in Lawrence focused on the Governor's Urban Agenda. We talked with local business owners, Mayor Rivera, other elected officials and constituents about the barriers and opportunities they saw within their city, and how the state could help their communities.
Governor Baker's Urban Agenda will provide $3 million to promote economic development and cultivate safe, strong communities across Massachusetts. The program will help communities provide support for small businesses, create jobs, promote housing development, train a next-generation workforce, and solve quality of life issues. A responsive grant that can be customized to address real community needs is essential to confronting root problems across the Commonwealth. Flexibility and collaboration will be essential to the long term success  of this program.  

The FY 2016 budget includes $2 million for Urban Agenda grants that will go toward
economic development projects in communities that focus on cross-sector collaboration to achieve successful outcomes and create replicable and scalable models. These grants will give communities the  flexibility to engage targeted businesses and sectors, without imposing a one-size-fits-all structure that could stifle local innovation. They will be open to all communities across the state. Applications will be  restricted to one per municipality, to encourage the collaborative nature of the projects within communities,  and EOHED expects to fund 3 to 5 projects. Awards will be capped at $1 million.
The FY 2016 budget also includes $1 million Urban Agenda grants through the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) for housing projects that encourage economic development in surrounding neighborhoods. Each grant of approximately $200,000 will assist with the planning and construction of approximately 300 units of housing by paying for development planning and other soft costs.
In Lawrence, we heard from young entrepreneurs who spoke about the need for business mentorship supports, and we heard from an apparel manufacturer who stressed the importance of a skilled, workplace-ready workforce. We value this feedback and enjoyed these interactions. Local feedback is critical to grounding our policies in local needs and opportunities that leverage local resources.
We are excited about the opportunity to continue our investment in urban communities across Massachusetts, and the Urban Agenda provides EOHED an essential tool as we work to help cities and towns succeed. 
-- Jay Ash, Secretary of Housing and Economic Development
Housing & Economic Development 
In Worcester's City Square Governor Baker announces he wants to make the Mass Works Infrastructure Program  the centerpiece of his administration's development efforts.
Brockton  hosts a walking tour and focus group discussion to gather feedback from residents on downtown revitalization efforts.
Fitchburg  hopes to spark community interest in downtown transformation with a $5,000 MassDevelopment's TDI places grant.
A MassDevelopment TDI Cowork grant will help two collaborative workspaces in Lowell expand (Lowell Makes and New Vestures).
Writing for CommonWealth, Neil Angus of the US Green Building Council says going green can help Gateway City homeowners.
The Cleveland Fed publishes a paper demonstrating the strong pattern of reinvestment in downtowns across the country. Figures for Boston show dramatic positive change with our Gateway Cities moving in the opposite direction. 
In a must-listen episode, This American Life tells a story of school segregation (and desegregation) in America.
Jacqueline Moloney moves up to the top spot at UMass Lowell, replacing Marty Meehan, who is now president of the entire UMass system.
The Herald News reports on how efforts to authorize more public charter schools could impact Gateway Cities such as Fall River.
A Boston company has unveiled plans to launch the first private commuter rail line in the country in 30 years, operating a Worcester to Providence line starting in 2017.
A land swap between Lowell and the MBTA  may be the key to jump-starting development of the Hamilton Canal District.
MassDOT secretary Stephanie Pollack responds to questions regarding the "perceived inequality in major project funding" between the eastern and western parts of Massachusetts. She cited recent work with the Springfield Redevelopment Authority as part of her rebuttal.
Communities & People
Cam Preciado, a Lowell businessman, looks to help others by making his company a one-stop shop for a company's marketing needs, creating the Best of Lowell Awards, and, most recently, renting space to local businesses at affordable prices.
A National League of Cities report looks at what issues are most commonly addressed in mayoral speeches. The most prevalent topics include economic development, infrastructure, public safety, and budgets. Read more about what mayors across the country have to say about the top 10 issues here.
Former Brockton mayor Win Farwell, who last served in 1995,  announced his candidacy for the City Council race this fall.
MGM Resorts International, which is building a casino in Springfield goes to court to block efforts to grant the Connecticut Indian tribes the authority to open another casino on the Massachusetts border.
Brockton officials urge to the state gaming commission not to shelve the idea of issuing a license in the Southeastern Massachusetts region.

Public Safety
Local and state officials, including Attorney General Maura Healey,  gather in Worcester to discuss strategies for stemming gun violence.
Herald editorial  backs the outside review of criminal justice policies that the state is seeking. CommonWealth reported on the planned review earlier this week.
The Fitchburg Police Department is accepting applications to participate in their Citizen Police Academy, which aims to give the general public a better look at what police officers face in the line of duty each day. 



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