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


Enhancing our investments in the Gateway Cities


When the House of Representatives began last year's session, I was determined that we find meaningful ways to broaden the circle of economic prosperity and promise beyond Boston to our Gateway Cities. In fact, I focused on these efforts at my annual address to the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce in early 2014. Many at the event were surprised by this: "Why is the Speaker talking about Springfield, Holyoke and Brockton while we're in Boston's Seaport district, discussing the city's economy?"


As we make progress and enhance our investments in the Gateway Cities I will continue to focus on the importance of regional parity. Make no mistake: The Commonwealth's excellence is wholly contingent on the Gateway Cities.


Whether through the Legislature's focus on education in the 2012 and 2014 economic development laws or our recent budgets, we've been working to ensure that as generations of Massachusetts residents mature, our plans are self-propelling. We want young individuals to succeed and find inventive ways to give back to their communities.


When you look at our economic development laws, a pattern emerges. To spur growth in areas outside 495, we put a premium on investment, creating the Transformative Development Fund. This $16 million fund will enhance residential, commercial, industrial and institutional development in Gateway Cities and encourage the growth of collaborative workspaces. The increase in the successful Infrastructure Investment Incentive (I-Cubed) Program from $325 to $600 million is also likely to help.


We also concentrated our efforts on encouraging students to get a head start on their future by providing vital resources and fostering relationships between the innovators of tomorrow and businesses. The nationally-lauded Talent Pipeline program, which matches private-sector stipends to hire interns, has seen great success in only two years. I've had the chance to meet with participants and am so pleased that companies from outside the 495-region are taking part and, in some cases, hiring interns.


Massachusetts has a highly educated workforce and strong talent pipeline. In coming years, experts estimate that there will be 1 million more American tech jobs than there are computer science graduates to fill them. That's why I'm particularly excited about MassCAN, a program that is newly funded through the 2014 economic development law. We provide $1.5 million-that's paired with a $1-for-$1 match from the private sector-to develop and implement a plan to establish computer science education in our public schools.


Especially important for Gateway Cities is the Early College High School Initiative. The program encourages partnerships between school districts and higher education institutions so that students can work towards their high school diploma while earning free college credits. This initiative pairs well with the Legislature's investments in community colleges and the UMass system.


Through milestone funding we are laying the groundwork so that our students, recognized as among the best in the nation, want to stay in Massachusetts after graduating. The Legislature's investments, with the help of institutions like MassINC, academic organizations and leading businesses, will help prepare even more of our students to form the fabric of a highly-trained workforce that will attract employers and enhance growth in Gateway Cities.


In Massachusetts we have no greater asset than our residents. I am encouraged by our work to foster equality and opportunity across the Commonwealth and heartened by the response of our bright citizens. In the coming years we will leverage Massachusetts' economic legacy-one of innovation, brain power and an industrious spirit-to foster ongoing prosperity.


--Speaker Robert DeLeo 


(Excerpts from Speaker DeLeo's address at the 2nd annual Gateway Cities Innovation Institute Summit. For video, click here and advance to 25:00.)



Housing & Economic Development


The BSA talks "The Future of Gateway Cities" this Thursday at 6:30 pm.


More praise for incoming housing and economic development secretary Jay Ash.


Brockton breaks ground on a new grocery store and health center.


A new committee forms in Lowell to kick-start use of the Smith-Baker Center on Merrimack Street, which has been closed for over a decade. City Manager Kevin Murphy is hopeful that state funding, historical tax credits, and private funding will come through for the building, according to the Lowell Sun.


DevelopSpringfield will create a downtown Innovation Center with support from a MassWorks grant.


Former manufacturing plants on Adams Street in Leominster undergo major renovations with funding from MassDevelopment, the Sentinel and Enterprise reports


The percentage of low- and moderate-income residents in New Bedford drops from over 60 percent in 2000 to 49 percent, putting the city below the threshold to qualify for HUD grants in all neighborhoods.




View John Schnur's keynote address from last week's 2nd annual Gateway Cities Innovation Institute Summit (beginning at 38:00).


Next City writes about Tacoma, Washington's attempts to stabilize highly mobile families with school-age children using special Section 8 Vouchers. (This was a major recommendation in our 2011 Going for Growth report on student mobility).


John Monfredo writes about the fifth annual meeting of the Worcester Education Collaborative and the future of the organization.


Front page news (that we were slow to pick up): Last month, Fall River Public Schools were released from all state oversight after five solid years of steady progress.


Creative Placemaking


In a powerful editorial, the Globe calls for the Baker administration to make the arts a priority for both education and economic development.


For a good look at how artists build up communities, check out video from last week's "Transforming Place" convening hosted by the NEA.




Following a recent increase in fatal pedestrian car crashes, Brockton Mayor Bill Carpenter announces a citywide action plan. This plan will involve three main areas of action-engineering, enforcement, and education, according.




Opponents of the Kinder Morgan pipeline gather in Fitchburg to plan ways to block the project, the Sun reports.


An "environmental justice" meeting between activists and state and federal environmental officials over the use of underwater containment cells to bury PCBs in New Bedford Harbor turns contentious.




A Superior Court judge rules that the December 16th recall election of Fall River Mayor Will Flanagan will not be a preliminary and that Flanagan's name will appear atop the slate of 10 candidates as the incumbent.


Health/Public Safety


Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera wants to borrow $2.5 million for police and fire improvements.


After a Haverhill fire that caused extensive damage to a home with a sprinkler system, firefighters oppose suggestions that sprinkler requirements be eased, the Eagle-Tribune 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.



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


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