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The Gateway Cities Journal
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News and information for leaders who care about Gateway Cities
 
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Welcoming the Institute's new co-chairs

 

The Gateway Cities Innovation Institute is excited to announce Chelsea City Manager Jay Ash, Mayor Lisa Wong of Fitchburg, and Mayor Dan Rivera of Lawrence as co-chairs for the 2015-2016 legislative session. These transformative leaders bring deep experience and grassroots energy to the Institute's work advancing the Gateway Cities policy agenda.

 

Over his decade and a half tenure as Chelsea city manager, Jay Ash has been the face of the rebirth of Chelsea, transforming his home town from a "punchline" to a city where "innovators have been innovating."  City Manager Ash is known as one of the most effective voices for municipal government in the Commonwealth. As a long serving member of the MassINC board, he has also been an integral part of the Gateway Cities Innovation Institute since its conception and played a key role in the push to create the Transformative Development Fund as part of the economic development law signed this week by Governor Patrick.  

 

Lisa Wong is currently in her fourth term as mayor of the city of Fitchburg. She is a rising leader in state politics.  Viewed as an urban turnaround artist, she has engineered several successful initiatives focusing on fiscal stability, restructuring city government, conservation, and education.  Over the past two years, Mayor Wong led our efforts to produce The Gateway Cities Vision for Dynamic Community-Wide Learning Systems, which seeks to highlight effective new education models that can be scaled to better prepare students for the changing economy.

 

Mayor Dan Rivera has burst onto the Massachusetts political landscape like few before. After successfully unseating the incumbent mayor last fall, Mayor Rivera set to work to revitalize Lawrence from the ground up with a focus on meat and potato services. Mayor Rivera has skillfully balanced these essential local efforts in Lawrence with a concerted push to build political capital for his city across the state using his energy and charisma to sell Lawrence's economic potential. 

 

In addition to driving the Institute's work overall, each co-chair will use their invaluable expertise to spearhead one of our main policy programs. City Manager Ash will continue to lead our Transformative Development project, Mayor Wong will be the point on our Gateway Cities education initiative, and Mayor Rivera will help us develop a new focus on public safety.

 

We are truly honored to work with these accomplished leaders and we are grateful to them for devoting their valuable time to this collaborative effort.

 

Benjamin Forman

Executive Director

Gateway Cities Innovation Institute

 


 

Transformative Development Fund

 

Governor Deval Patrick's signed House 4377, An Act promoting economic growth across the Commonwealth into law, while sending back some line item vetoes to the House and refiling legislation not included in the bill. Included in the law is the creation of a $16 million Transformative Development Fund.

 

Housing and Economic Development

 

Following the Worthington Street gas explosion two years agoin Springfield, plans to create an arts and industry based district in the area are starting to take shape.

 

Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker says that he would welcome a casino in Springfield before opening multiple casinos around Massachusetts, MassLive reports.

 

According to WAMC, the Pittsfield Economic Development Fund received a $10 million grant from Massachusetts Life Sciences Center to build the Berkshire Innovation Center.

 

Writing for the Globe'sIdeas section, Ben Schreckinger examines the disparity between economic growth in Boston and the Gateway Cities, citing GCII Fellow Catherine Tumber and the Institute's research on reinventing transit. RadioBoston continued the conversation with the author and Cathy during a segment this week.

 

The Berkshire Eagle takes the Legislature to task for coming up with a Broadway-bound theatre tax credit bill that excludes smaller venues like Pittsfield's Barrington Stage, the Williamstown Theater Festival and Cambridge's Loeb Drama Center. Governor Patrick vetoed the tax credit.

 

Transportation

Lynn embarks on a $4.6 million road and sideway improvement project in Wyoma Square. The project is expected to take almost two years, and it is "designed to improve traffic flow through the square" the Lynn Journal reports.

 

Chicopee's City Council agrees to allocate $60,700 to redesign intersections on either side of the Deady Bridge. City officials hope that the improvements will help with "daily backups on Main Street and traffic problems on East Street," MassLive reports.

 

As part of an ongoing Amtrak rail project connecting Connecticut and Vermont via the "Knowledge Corridor", Massachusetts is dishing out $17 million for the project which will stop in Springfield, Holyoke, Northampton and Greenfield.

 

Education

 

Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll and the local teachers union have reached an agreement on extending the school day at Collins Middle School. The deal secures access a $120,000 state grant to fund the longer day.

 

The Boston Globe reports that UMass Lowell is partnering with Raytheon Co., "to establish a joint research facility focused on next-generation printable electronics and nanotechnology", which will open in October.

 

In keeping with state regulations, Worcester public school officials have struck the words "zero tolerance" from their new code of conduct. The aim of the policy is to cut down on suspensions and expulsions.

 

Several schools in Brockton are reaping the benefits of a program run by the South Shore Conservatory called ImagineARTS. This program "provides greater access to performing arts instruction and performances" and encourages kids to be engaged with the arts while bridging educational gaps, the Enterprise reports.

 

Health/Public Safety

 

Lynn city councilor forms a second municipal group to oppose the move by Partners HealthCare to shift Union Hospital's focus toward psychiatric care, the Item reports.

 

The 2014 Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant will give Fall River $94,386, Attleboro $14,043, New Bedford $99,178, and Taunton $26,309 for new public safety equipment. US Representative Joseph Kennedy III remarked that, "funding will provide key support to the men and women working tirelessly to reduce crime and protect public safety across Fall River, New Bedford, Taunton and Attleboro".

 

Communities / People

 

Gateway Cities, including Lowell, Haverhill and Fitchburg, are hurting due to the ongoing Market Basket standoff, the Lowell Sun reports.

 

Governance

  

New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell becomes the third consecutive mayor to propose a lengthening of the mayor's term from two years to four year, excluding himself and starting with the next mayor, South Coast Today reports. 


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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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