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


A Transformative Development Milestone



The last nine months have been a whirlwind at MassDevelopment as we have visited and revisited all 26 Gateway Cities, seen their enormous potential and diversity, and enjoyed the food finds that we have encountered en route.  Most inspiring, we have talked with leaders and local champions who are galvanizing their communities around forward-thinking visions. These visits and conversations have helped to hone the new Transformative Development Initiative [TDI] that will accelerate reinvestment in the Gateway Cities. MassDevelopment is striving to assemble a program that is agile, adaptable, and flexible enough to accommodate the diverse needs of the 26 cities; identify and leverage resources; and layer on and fit in with district activities at various stages of development. 


Yesterday's designation of the 2014 TDI Districts in Development marked an important milestone, but we have just begun!  While MassDevelopment has identified eligible TDI Districts for enhanced technical assistance and first equity investments from the Transformative Development Fund, we see opportunity in all districts and will build a pipeline of needs that will illustrate the demand for additional investment necessary to drive their redevelopment.  The pilot year activities will support long-term needs while also demonstrating the payoff from making shorter-term investments that will build momentum and accelerate progress.


The inaugural 2014 Call for Districts process netted tremendous feedback and will help MassDevelopment better identify and direct its resources, in partnership with other government and private entities.  Our MassDevelopment  team and the committee reviewing the districts heard about local partnerships that were specifically stewarding district efforts-some new, some enhanced,  and some established.  We heard plans for ramping up community engagement efforts-both traditional communities as well as ideas for reaching non-traditional ones (building owners, informal economies, local businesses, visitors, and residents/stakeholders).  We heard details, challenges, and visions for 18 downtown,  5 residential, and 2 industrial districts, and enjoyed the 15-second videos that revealed the underlying district identities. In aggregate, the districts submitted represent 1500 acres; 60,000 residents; 2500 businesses; 35,000 workers; and more than $1 billion of property tax valuation-illustrating the import of even small snapshots of Gateway Cities.


Gateway Cities have untapped opportunities in terms of physical infrastructure, building stock, institutional/cultural anchors, diverse  vibrant  communities, and growing local engagements that are changing the historic pattern of disinvestment.  The local district partnerships have overwhelmingly responded that their primary goal is to further leverage that potential and build community identity. In taking on issues of historic building rehabilitation, upper-story utilization, retail vacancies, and financial gaps, these partnerships can surmount some of these challenges with the right resources. When deployed strategically and systemically in compact areas, concentrated assistance can create perceptible changes in subsections of cities that will drive that momentum on larger scales.


Our journey to date has given us a breathtaking view of the diverse opportunities to make Gateway Cities stronger regional economic centers as they are poised to be.  MassDevelopment is thrilled with the early TDI feedback and looks forward to a collaborative, creative, and iterative process to improve upon and expand TDI so that it truly becomes a tool to further transform Gateway Cities. 


-Anne Haynes

Director of Transformative Development




Housing & Economic Development


Banker & Tradesman reports on MassDevelopment's designation of the first 10 TDI Districts.


In a letter to the editor, Representative Antonio Cabral recognizes MassDevelopment's leadership replenishing the $16 million Transformative Development Initiative, replacing funding eliminated by the Governor's midyear budget cuts.


Mayor James Fiorentini of Haverhill forms a committee to review proposals from private groups looking to buy and redevelop two former schools according to the Eagle Tribune.


Demolition of the Star Theater/Leonard Block in Taunton building is begins.


New Bedford's State Pier will receive a $1 million make over. The improvements will include installation of refrigeration equipment.


A developer of two proposed mixed-use buildings in Quincy Center is aiming for a March groundbreaking, the first significant step in restarting the stalled $1.6 billion downtown redevelopment project that has left the city with a gaping hole in the middle of its main street.


Withconstruction underway on Springfield's Union Station, Mayor Dominic Sarno says the project will honor the city's past and notes that the multi-million redevelopment is already generating interest in the downtown area. The project is scheduled to be completed in summer 2016.


Richard Florida weighs in on the gentrification debate.





Massachusetts receives $15 million in federal funds for pre-school expansion in Boston, Holyoke, Lawrence, Lowell, and Springfield.


Lynn schools, teachers, and nonprofits distribute 43,000 books to children, the Item reports.


Fitchburg officials push against a proposed charter school.


Brockton officials are planning to file suit against the state and a officials of a proposed charter school over the decision to grant a waiver for the school to move forward in the application process.


Outside partners brought in to turn around struggling schools have failed to boost scores in Gateway City schools across the state.


Commentators in EdWeek report on new evidence for the benefits of arts-learning.


Creative Placemaking


In one of his last acts as governor, Deval Patrick creates a public art program for Gateway Cities.




Bloomberg names the first 12 winners of its "Innovation Delivery Team" contest. The list includes Boston, but more interesting to Gateway Cities, also among the winners are several midsize cities (Syracuse, Peoria, Rochester).




Salem City councilors authorize Mayor Kim Driscoll to sign a long-term tax deal and agreement for community benefits with New Jersey-based energy developer Footprint Power. The PILOT agreement would provide Salem with steadily increasing annual payments up to $6.76 million by the end of the deal in 2032, the Salem News reports.




Congress tams the TIGER program, but keeps it funded through FY15.


Health/Public Safety


Haverhill Police Chief Alan DeNaro says that the city needs more officers to fight the ongoing heroin problem in the city, according to the Eagle Tribune.


Morton Hospital in Taunton is building a new emergency room that will be open next summer, with several upgrades to modernize the facility, according to the Taunton Daily Gazette.




George Carney, the owner of the Raynham dog racing track who lost out on a slot license earlier this year, is considering applying for the state's third casino license in the still-open Southeast region and building it on the Brockton Fairgrounds, where he has applied to run horse racing.




The Boston Globe reports on Gateway Cities as a first term focal point for the Baker administration.


The Herald-News catalogs endorsements in today's recall election in Fall River.


Treasure-elect Deb Goldberg's transition team includes significant Gateway City representation.




We are sad to see the Standard Times lose editor Bob Unger, a talented and tireless Gateway City leader.


For a full list of Massachusetts Gateway Cities, click here. The Gateway Cities Journal is a weekly news publication of MassINC. If you would like to unsubscribe to The Journal but would still like to hear from MassINC, please let us know. If you are not yet on our list and would like to sign up, click here. To contribute news or comments, please email MassINC.



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MassINC's Gateway Cities Innovation Institute
Tel: (617) 742-6800
Fax: (617) 589-0929


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