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


Unlocking the opportunity of unique educational assets


Over the years, MassINC has drawn attention to the many undervalued assets in Gateway Cities like Fitchburg -- authentic downtowns, walkable neighborhoods, and existing infrastructure -- to name a few. While these features are no doubt appealing, we must also recognize that the exceptional potential of Gateway City education systems is another overlooked strength that we can leverage for reinvestment and renewal.


Working together with MassINC over the past year, Gateway City leaders have developed a policy agenda that builds on our unique educational assets. These include public colleges and universities, local museums and arts venues, which allow us to provide multiple pathways to post-secondary education; clusters of regional employers, which create powerful work-based learning opportunities; and our diversity, which offers exposure to different backgrounds and values critical to success in today's multicultural workplace.


While there are still challenges for Gateway City school systems to overcome, with support from state agencies and other partners, we have made exceptional progress developing innovative new learning models and adopting data-driven approaches to tailor instruction to individual needs. The policy priorities Gateway City education leaders have identified together are critical to sustaining and building on recent success. These policies would also allow us to capitalize on opportunities unique to Gateway Cities, helping us create true 21st-century learning systems and another strong selling point for our communities.


   Andre Ravenelle    

   Superintendent, Fitchburg Public Schools





Leaders from around the Commonwealth celebrated the innovative spirit of Gateway Cities last Tuesday by honoring a group of forward-thinking officials, community organizations, businesses, and individuals making a big difference in these small to mid-size cities. Suffolk Construction Founder, President and CEO John Fish spoke on the need for public-private partnerships that can bring large scale development into these communities.


Watch brief remarks from the seven award winners on their achievements.


(From left) Fitchburg Mayor Lisa Wong; Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll; Brockton Mayor Linda Balzotti; John Fish, Founder, President and CEO of Suffolk Construction; Greg Torres, President of MassINC and Publisher of CommonWealth magazine; Worcester City Manager Michael O'Brien; Chelsea City Manager Jay Ash




The Worcester Telegram & Gazette, the Springfield Republican, the New Bedford Standard-Times, the Brockton Enterprise, and the Fall River Herald News report on the Gateway Cities Vision for Dynamic Community-Wide Learning Systems. The strategy advocates for policy development in four major areas: early education, social and emotional growth, pathways to college and career, and support for newcomers. 


Gov. Deval Patrick announces funding for a new $27 million science building at Massasoit Community College in Brockton.


Opportunity Works Inc. has begun construction of a new educational center for adults with disabilities. The new building is located near the back of the Northern Essex Community College campus in Haverhill.




The Senate votes to hike the minimum wage on July 1, 2014, from $8 to $9 and then keep raising it annually until it hits $11 in 2016, the State House News reports.


Officials celebrate the 45-acre extension of the New Bedford Business Park, which is expected to bring up to 500 new jobs to the park.


A draft state report laying out plans to improve maritime facilities says it could cost as much as $20 million to redevelop Fall River's waterfront for commercial, passenger, and visitor activities.


The primary developer of the $1.6 billion overhaul of downtown Quincy says they have "paused" work just four months after breaking ground because construction costs in the Boston area have increased 37 percent and the company needs to recalibrate its investment.


Revere receives a $1.5 million grant for a new parking lot that will help restore Broadway as the city's main business street.




The Cherry & Webb Gallery in Fall River will be closing its doors after nine years of exhibits and art events. The largest source of funding for the gallery has dried up. The funding came largely from Dominion, the owner of Brayton Point Power Station in Somerset, which was sold at the end of August.




Gov. Deval Patrick announces $200 million in phase 1 funding for the replacement of the I-91 viaduct in Springfield. Part of the project will involve studying the feasibility of depressing the artery to reconnect downtown with the Connecticut River waterfront.


The state approved South Coast Rail to begin the permitting process. The Department of Transportation first needs to apply for state permits that require approval of all 31 communities the tracks will pass through. Then, they will apply for federal permits from the Army Corps of Engineers, EPA, and Coast Guard.


Worcester residents urge the MBTA to do everything possible to trim the commuter rail time from Worcester to Framingham and then into Boston, the Telegram & Gazette reports.


Salem gets a $1.2 million state grant for traffic and roadway improvements in North Salem. The area known as Blubber Hollow is also undergoing many redevelopment projects, including a large apartment complex and a commercial building.




The Conservation Law Foundation files an appeal alleging that a state agency improperly approved a gas-fired power plant to replace a Salem coal plant scheduled to shut down in May, the Salem News reports. Environmental groups are also condemning state Rep. John Keenan's bid to exempt a proposed natural gas power plant in Salem from regulatory appeals the Salem News reports. CommonWealth reported on the dispute last week, suggesting the battle is a fight over the state's energy future.


The Buzzards Bay Coalition has dropped its appeal of the $366 million settlement the EPA agreed to to clean up New Bedford Harbor even though the advocates continue to insist it is woefully underfunded.


The U.S. Green Building Council, a nonprofit organization, gives the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center in Holyoke its highest rating of platinum certification. The ranking goes to companies committed to sustainable energy and improved environmental performance.




City Manager Michael O'Brien, a co-chair of the Gateway Cities Innovation Institute,resigns after providing the city of Worcester a decade of excellent leadership. He'll be joining WinnDevelopment as executive vice-president.


Brockton at-large City Councilor Jass Stewart introduces a proposal to prevent union contracts from coming before the council six months before an election.




Gov. Deval Patrick signs a nearly $74 million housing bond bill that will allocate affordable housing resources and tax credits for the completion of new projects in cities such as Lawrence and Springfield.




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 Marj Malpiede.



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


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