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


Gateways to the Future of the Commonwealth


Massachusetts has recovered from the recession ahead of the rest of the country. We created 14,000 jobs in the last month alone and 67,000 jobs in the last 12 months. But statistics, trends, and rhetoric do little to comfort Massachusetts families dealing with the reality of a tough economy - older workers out of work for months and sometimes years, young people who want to earn a living wage but can't afford the rising price tag of college, or small business owners ready to hire but unable to find workers who have the skills they need for today's innovation economy.


Our Gateway Cities face significant challenges, but I see a tremendous opportunity for sound economic policy and common-sense investments to build on their assets - a deep history of culture and the arts, lower housing costs, growing manufacturing companies starting to reap the benefits of on-shoring, and close proximity to the state's 29 public colleges and universities. My economic agenda includes three central ingredients to revitalize widespread economic growth across the state that will have a particular impact on Gateway Cities.


Encourage Business Growth. We must remove the roadblocks and barriers to encourage business growth in our Gateway Cities. In Lowell, I visited the Merrimack Valley Sandbox and heard repeatedly about the need to alleviate burdensome start-up costs for entrepreneurs by exploring the potential to lower LLC fee and minimum corporate tax payments in the state. In Fall River, the Advanced Technology and Manufacturing Center (ATMC), overseen by UMass Dartmouth, is helping to generate emerging growth companies that will contribute to resurgent manufacturing on the South Coast and in Bristol County. In addition, lengthy waiting periods for permitting and overly burdensome regulations put Massachusetts at a disadvantage with other states like North Carolina competing for the manufacturing and biotechnology jobs of the 21st century. State agencies like MassDevelopment have moved nimbly and creatively with significant results such as Bristol-Myers Squibb's massive investment and job creation at Devens and the arrival of Menck Windows in Chicopee with new jobs for a city that has not seen a lot of new manufacturing jobs in decades.


Train Workers to Close the Skills Gap. Massachusetts employers have 100,000 unfilled job openings because unemployed workers lack the required skills. Now is the time to invest in skills and industry-specific training. Many of these jobs are located within a Gateway Cities economic watershed. Enhancing the quality of education for the 44,000 students now attending vocational-technical schools and programs, is crucial to ensuring that Massachusetts can close the skills gap in the decades ahead. And given the long waiting lists for these programs, investing in the expansion of vocational-technical schools could not be a more important priority. At Westfield State University, I met with more than a dozen young men and women determined to land a job after graduation but struggling to keep up with the rising cost of college. That's why I want to freeze tuition and fees at our public colleges and universities for the next four years and create 5,000 paid summer internships for our college students, so that young people can experiment with career choices and network with employers while earning their education.


Invest in our Infrastructure. Attracting businesses and training workers only helps the economy grow if those workers can find affordable housing and transportation to get to work. Gateway City transportation and housing resources need additional public investment. I will facilitate public-private partnerships that enable developers to acquire or lease public land virtually for free, provided they guarantee to build housing with predictable rents within reach for low and middle-income families. We must also fully implement Governor Patrick's transportation plan, "The Way Forward," which encompasses priorities such as ensuring that our regional transit authorities (RTAs) are financially secure, careful attention to deferred maintenance, South Coast Rail, and enhanced rail service to Cape Cod and Western Massachusetts. Again and again, young professionals tell me that if we can solve the housing and transportation crises, they will live, work, play, and stay in Massachusetts.


A Grossman administration will be a gateway to the future. The resurgent economic health and well-being of our Gateway Cities is essential to that vision. Let's build One Commonwealth that levels the playing field and leaves no one behind.


- Treasurer Steve Grossman
Democratic Candidate for Governor



Housing & Economic Development


Secretary Greg Bialecki launches the start of the application process for the collaborative workspaces component of the new Transformative Development Fund.


Derek Santos, Executive Director of the New Bedford Economic Development Council, speaks to the Standard Times about how these resources will help fuel innovation in Gateway Cities.


Staying on that topic, the Pittsfield City Council recommends allocating $250,000 towards start-up costs for the Berkshire Innovation Center. The bulk of the $9.7 million project will come from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center. Originally planned as an industrial incubator, the center will now acts as a collaborative organization providing training for precision manufacturing and specialized equipment to help local companies accelerate product design and development.


South Coast Today reports on efforts to create a "Community Benefit District" to further downtown New Bedford's comeback.


Five hundred Quinsigamond Community College students are coming to the former Telegram & Gazette building. This influx of foot traffic will bring economic activity, boosting surrounding businesses and increasing the vitality of downtown Worcester.


Springfield's downtown revitalization efforts are going strong with plans in the works for extensive renovations to be made on a 280-unit downtown apartment complex on Main Street.


News breaks that James Arthur Jemison, Deputy Undersecretary at DHCD and a great friend to Gateway Cities, will head off to serve as Director of Housing & Revitalization for the City of Detroit. We wish him luck. His dedication and talent will be greatly missed.


Working Cities Challenge


The Work Cities Challenge is hosting a learning community on building cross-sector partnerships in Cambridge on September 30th. The bank is also hiring a Senior Community Development Analyst to support the growth of the Working Cities Challenge initiative.




The Revere Journal reports on literacy gains Everett, Malden and Revere have made with assistance from the Bay State Reading Institute.


Methuen High School students enrolled in the Early Childhood Education program will work with preschool children through a program designed to provide an interactive learning environment for both the high school vocational program students as well as the preschoolers, the Eagle Tribune reports.


Fall River officials are enthusiastic about a recent decision by UMass Dartmouth to offer international student program courses in downtown Fall River. The move will bring an influx of college students into the downtown to experience the community's advantages and contribute to the city's growth.




The Mill City Leadership Institute in Lawrence will hold a kick-off reception on September 23rd to introduce its Class of 2015.




Urbanophile blogs on the how the loss of the local banking sector has disrupted the local governance sector in cities, severing link between the economic fortunes of a community's elite and broadly shared community prosperity.


Go Local Worcester highlights the three candidates running for City Manager of Worcester and the challenges he will face in the coming years; most important on the list for residents: Worcester's economy.


On a visit to Chelsea's Box District, gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker makes clear that he wants to see changes to the state's public housing system.



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