The first week of the new year brings inauguration day to cities across Massachusetts. Mayor Carpenter, Mayor Kos, and Mayor Rivera take the reins in Brockton, Chicopee, and Lawrence. Congratulations to these new mayors and a warm welcome to the community of Gateway City leaders who have come together to build a common agenda.
We invite them to join us as we work with the legislature over the coming year to promote strategic state investments in education and transformative redevelopment. The Gateway Cities Vision for Dynamic Community-Wide Learning Systems, a policy agenda built collaboratively with Gateway City mayors, managers, and education leaders over the course of 2013, is the roadmap for our education campaign. Over the next few months, we'll be holding events, conducting public opinion polling, and meeting with leaders on Beacon Hill to advance this vision.
We will also be working to build support for the tools contained in House Bill 311, "An Act to Promote Transformative Redevelopment in Gateway Cities." This legislation is an outgrowth of a white paper Gateway City economic development leaders helped prepare in 2012. The bill's provisions offer creative fixes to the barriers redevelopment projects in our Gateway Cities struggle to overcome.
As new mayors take office, there is growing recognition that making smart state investments in our Gateway Cities is vital to the social and economic fabric of our Commonwealth. Translating this awareness into actual policy will require steady political leadership from all of our communities. We welcome the fresh energy and ideas from new mayors to the cause.
- Ben Forman
HOUSING AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
In an editorial, the Boston Business Journal argues for investment in Gateway Cities to address high unemployment.
The Wall Street Journal looks at the potential for micro-units in less expensive midsize city markets, including a project in Worcester.
Fall River and Freetown discuss the potential for an intermunicipal agreement to enhance economic growth within the two communities. There are plans to meet to discuss this partnership further within the first quarter of 2014.
In Fall River, the planned 50-bed homeless shelter becomes increasingly necessary as winter weather hits the Northeast. The $1.5 million shelter, once built, will be funded entirely through charitable organizations.
Haverhill passes major rezoning to spur redevelopment along the city's waterfront. New zoning is expected to generate more developer interest in a housing market that continues to gain strength. Two housing proposals are already before the city council: a mixed-use downtown project as well as a "cluster development" for new single family homes.
News breaks that another strong Gateway City leader is moving on. Thank you to Lowell City Manager Bernie Lynch for all of his hard work.
In Lawrence, newly elected Mayor Daniel Rivera makes five key appointments to his administration. Elizabeth Delgado, Kate Reilly, and Theodoro Rosario join his team as special assistants. Abel Vargas is appointed Business Development Director, and Wendy Luzon is named Neighborhood Planner.
Bill Carpentertakes the oath as Brockton's new mayor. In his inaugural speech, Mayor Carpenter outlines his plan to reinvigorate Brockton's economy and create safer neighborhoods.
Shirley Asack, Shaynah Barnes, and Moises Rodrigues are sworn in as Brockton's new city councilors, and Allisha Jean Clark, Ray Henningson, and Judy Sullivan take the oath joining the city's school committee. After 20 years of service, Thomas Brophy leaves the council but promises to stay involved.
Richard Kos is sworn in as the new mayor of Chicopee. Mayor Kos touches on public safety, education and economic development in his inaugural speech.
In Lowell, a landfill has been converted to a solar panel field to provide renewable energy to the community. Expected savings for the city are estimated to be between $1.5 million and $2.5 million each year.
At the Worcester Youth Center, students ages 16-24 are being taught skills needed to obtain "green jobs" after graduation. The program is funded by a $112,000 grant provided by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center.
A new mandatory recycling program in Salem seems to be working, with more than 300 tons of waste diverted at a savings of $20,000, the Salem News reports.
In Lawrence, charter schools like Phoenix Charter Academy are providing new opportunities for teens by encouraging them to stay in school and prepare for college.
Enrollment in Worcester Public Schools is up 4 percent.
The Holyoke Creative Arts Center is relocating to Holyoke's downtown within the Art and Innovation district. The move will allow the center to enhance and expand its services.
The Mashpee Wampanoag tribe received confirmation from the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs that the Taunton tribal casino compact had been approved. The compact represents the first gaming license within the commonwealth of Massachusetts.