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


Preservation as development


It's budget season, and we at Preservation Massachusetts have spent much of the past few months fighting, on both the federal and state levels, to preserve and improve the tax credits that serve as important tools for historic preservation in the Commonwealth.  


Earlier this spring, Preservation Massachusetts staff traveled to Washington, D.C. with several other partners to take part in National Preservation Advocacy Week. It is a time where preservationists and others in the industry meet to discuss pertinent federal issues together and with members of Congress.


This year's meetings took on added significance because, just prior our arrival in D.C., Rep. David Camp (R-MI), Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, proposed eliminating the Federal Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit (FHRTC) as part of his tax reform plan.  While it is unlikely Camp's proposal will go anywhere, it could still serve as a blueprint for future attempts at tax reform. The message was clear, and Preservation Massachusetts delivered it to Congress: we need to preserve the FHRTC from elimination and reduction.


The FHTRC is a hugely important tool, not just for historic preservation, but for economic development and community revitalization. It is a program that developers have used in coordination with our own Massachusetts Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit program, with remarkable success. Since the MHRTC debuted in 2004, the average annual FHRTC allocation jumped from $61 million to over $200 million. In 2013, Massachusetts ranked second in the nation in the amount of federal tax credits allocated.


The Transformative Development legislation (HB 311) sponsored by Rep. Antonio Cabral, included important enhancements and changes to the MHRTC, making it an even more effective tool for economic development. Gov. Patrick incorporated many parts of the HB 311 into his own economic development legislation, but not the provisions on the MHRTC tax credit. We feel that this is a lost opportunity. Because the state and federal credits are often used together, failing to make these changes means, in effect, Massachusetts will be leaving federal money on the table.


For the sake of both historic preservation and economic development, we need to work to augment and improve our state historic tax credit, and to protect complementary federal programs. Preservation Massachusetts is proud to work with legislators on both Beacon Hill and Capitol Hill to that end.


Jim Igoe, President

Preservation Massachusetts





The Eagle-Tribune's Christian Wade captures the pulse of Merrimack Valley leaders eager to see an economic development bill with a strong focus on transformative development in Gateway Cities.




Gov. Deval Patrick spends the afternoon in Lawrence, announcing more than $4 million in grants for an advanced manufacturing academy and a new park in the city, the Eagle-Tribune reports.


Springfield offers prospective developers federal funding incentives in an effort to sell two foreclosed historic properties.


The Lowell Sun interviews the incoming head of Coalition for a Better Acre, a CDC serving the Merrimack Valley.


The Lawrence City Council approves Theresa Park, Mayor Rivera's nominee for planning director, the Eagle-Tribune reports.




Gov. Patrick tells the Springfield Republican editorial board that he wants whichever company that builds new MBTA cars to be located in Western Mass.


The $13 billion transportation bond bill signed by Gov. Deval Patrick earmarks $35.5 million for revitalization and redevelopment projects in Haverhill.


Gov. Patrick awards Lawrence $194,700 for pothole repair and winter recovery efforts.


Bay State Bike Week is coming up May 10-18. Search the website for events near your Gateway City, and sign up to log your miles as part of the MassCommute Bicycle Challenge.




Governing reports on rising high school graduation rates.


Northeastern University releases a new survey on the state of higher education as viewed by business leaders.


Attleboro Mayor Kevin Dumas wants to adopt local hotel and meals taxes, and earmark the funds for the city's schools.


The Worcester School Committee debates placing a cap on school administrative spending.


Fall River school officials analyze the student transportation budget and open the floor to bids for a new five year contract.


Bristol Community College in Fall River prepares students for the green economy.


The public backs City Council President Michitson's proposal to improve deteriorating school and city buildings in Haverhill.




A judge orders the owner of the burnt-down Merrimac Paper mill in Lawrence to revise his plans for cleaning up the site.


Silver Lake in Pittsfield is declared clean enough for recreation after crews finish removing PCB contamination.


Fall River receives a $56,000 grant to develop green infrastructure.


The Worcester Telegram & Gazette reports on the toll that prescription painkiller abuse is taking not only on addicts but also on the public safety and criminal justice systems.




Fall River Mayor Will Flanagan and firefighter union officials find room for compromise on a contract that would reduce the number of layoffs in the department in exchange for firefighters taking a pay cut.


Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse schedules two budget "listening sessions" in an effort to engage with taxpayers.




Lynn signs surrounding community agreements with both Mohegan Sun and Wynn Resorts The Mohegan deal calls for the city to receive mitigation payments of $350,000 a year, the Item reports.Wynn Resorts also signs agreements with Cambridge, Medford, and Melrose.




Metro North/North Shore Gateway Cities Education Forum, Lynn, May 16th


The Sandbox Summit, Lowell, June 9th and 10th



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