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


Another step forward for transformative development


At a summit in Newton yesterday, Governor Patrick unveiled new comprehensive economic development legislation. We were excited to see that the Governor's package includes tools for transformative development in Gateway Cities which closely mirror provisions contained in H. 311. The two most significant features are the creation of a new fund at MassDevelopment and enhancements to the Housing Development Incentive Program. The Governor's bill builds on H. 311 with some great new ideas for how we nurture small businesses growth in Gateway Cities with shared work space and technical assistance.


Governor Patrick's contributions were warmly received by leaders in attendance, including Senate President Therese Murray, whose support will be vital to the passage of economic development legislation at the close of a session with many priorities competing for attention. Speaker DeLeo's remarks reinforced the urgency. He emphasized that Gateway Cities are not fully participating in our state's recovery and noted that we need policy solutions tailored to different regional needs and opportunities if we want to grow the economy of our entire Commonwealth.


Massachusetts is ready for legislation that creates transformative redevelopment tools that will help reposition our Gateway Cities to generate growth in regional economies around the state. Gateway Cities are building capacity. Many now have in place very capable real estate teams to oversee complex projects. MassDevelopment has also added real depth to its team, and the state is home to some of the best talent in the nation, from urban planners and designers to real estate developers. We have the know-how today to create real value from existing Gateway City assets.


The question that remains is whether we will give these very able practitioners sufficient tools to get the job done. In our transformative development concept paper, authored with Alan Mallach, a nationally recognized expert on the subject, we suggested an investment fund with $1 to $2 billion. This is a relatively modest figure in contrast to economic development investments that are routine in Boston (e.g., see this week's debate on expansion of the Boston Convention Center).


H. 311 falls at the bottom of this range. The Governor's bill is several orders of magnitude lower-the MassDevelopment Transformative Redevelopment Fund receives a capitalization of just $11 million; the Housing Development Incentive Program grows from $5 million to $10 million. At these levels we might have sufficient funding to plan for compelling transformative projects, but we could never build them.


It is apt that this conversation comes to the fore as we face yet another difficult state budget. Funding for transformative development must be approached as a long-term capital investment amortized over decades. The longer we put off these critical investments, the longer regional economies outside of Greater Boston will sputter. And without these economies contributing sustainably to the state's coffers, we will continue to face structural imbalances. With $2 billion in state capital spending annually, surely we can find a way to carve out resources for a serious investment in transformative Gateway City projects.


Ben Forman





Advancing the Gateway Cities Education Vision: The Lowell Sun reports on our Merrimack Valley Gateway Cities Education Vision forum. In a Standard Times opinion column, Representative Cabral builds on the conversation at our South Coast Forum with ideas for improving early education in Gateway Cities. GoLocalWorcester writes about the importance of education strategies for newcomers, including Worcester's dual language immersion schools, a key component of the Gateway Cities Education Vision.


Meg Aki looks at how Brockton is using a new federal grant to build college and career pathways in our blog.


Pittsfield schools are struggling to cut the budget after the Mayor approves half of their requested $2 million increase.


Lowell school officials are pushing for a $245 million expansion and renovation of the city's high school, the Sun reports.


The Lawrence Teachers Union ratifies a new contract with the state receiver overseeing the city's schools, the Eagle-Tribune reports.




Harvard's Graduate School of Design invites housing and economic development leaders to a forum on "Realizing the Potential of Gateway Cities" on April 18th.


MACDC urges support for an amendment to the House Budget offered by Rep. Peake to increase funding for the Small Business Technical Assistance grant.


MassCreative rallies to reduce deep cuts to the Massachusetts Cultural Council in the House budget.


The Patriot Ledger analyzes what went wrong with Quincy's downtown revitalization project after the city's break with developer Street-Works.


In an editorial, Lawrence Eagle Tribune argues that new Mayor Daniel Rivera's actions - specifically, appointing a planning director for the city -- speak louder than the words of his predecessor William Lantigua when it comes to economic development.


Businesses in the Brockton area are set to join the state's Creative Economy Network.


Rebuilding Together is tackling the blighted areas in Springfield to restore beauty and pride in community properties.


The Salem News reports that cities across Massachusetts want municipal control of liquor licenses. Cities argue that the state-controlled, Prohibition-era cap on liquor licenses is holding back vital economic development opportunities.


The National Trust for Historic Preservation fights for the federal historic tax credit, which is under threat on Capitol Hill.




The WRTA's decision to provide direct route service from the Southbridge area to Worcester has proven to be a popular improvement in transportation service, as illustrated through increasing ridership numbers.


Despite the hold-up with Quincy's downtown redevelopment , the Department of Transportation is moving forward with the first phase of the Adams Green Park project in the city.


Demolition to make way for a new riverside road and park in downtown Attleboro is set to start mid-April.




Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch signed a 20 year contract with SolarCity to install solar panels on city schools and municipal buildings.


Local activists have succeeded in pushing the state to begin additional testing for air pollution in Brockton.


Mayor Jon Mitchell urges the Natural Resource Trustee Council to include funding for the New Bedford Harbor Riverwalk. The Council is developing a plan for spending settlement funds from a 2003 oil spill.


Holyoke is one of the three cities selected for the Greening the Gateway Cities project funded by the Massachusetts Department of Energy and Environment.


Worcester expects to save $600,000 over three years on its electricity bills by signing a contract with a New Jersey energy company, the Telegram & Gazette reports.


Toll Brothers paid $750,000 in penalties for violating the Clean Water Act at construction sites in 26 states, including two in Methuen, according to the Eagle-Tribune. 


The city of Brockton seeks to strike a deal with medical marijuana organizations to put a share of revenue toward benefiting the city.




Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse calls for a meals tax as part of his state of the city speech and annual budget proposal.


A judge denies an initial challenge to Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera's plan to consolidate city agencies in leased space closer to city hall, the Eagle-Tribune reports.


Brockton Mayor Bill Carpenter is traveling to Washington, DC to meet with the Brockton Congressional delegation and ensure that the interests of the city are being heard.


U.S. Rep.  Joseph Kennedy III kicked off his campaign for re-election in Taunton.


Gubernatorial Candidate Martha Coakley paid a visit to Fitchburg, the Sentinel & Enterprise reports.



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.



davis foundationParkerThumb 

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


Facebook   Twitter   LinkedIn