MassINC to honor Gateway City Innovators

Champions of Transformative Redevelopment to receive awards at first annual Gateway Cities luncheon

MassINC, together with leaders from the 26 Gateway Cities, will celebrate the innovative spirit of Massachusetts’ historic Gateway Cities by honoring five individuals and two organizations that have had a transformative impact on their communities.

The awards will be presented at the first annual Gateway Cities Innovation Institute Luncheon, held on November 12th, 2013 at UMass/Boston. The event will mark the one year anniversary of The Gateway Cities Innovation Institute. Suffolk Construction Founder, President and CEO John Fish will give the luncheon address.

“The 2013 Gateway Cities Innovation Award winners include forward-thinking officials, community organizations, businesses and individuals making a big difference in these small to mid-size cities. We are delighted to honor them as we celebrate the first anniversary of the Gateway Cities Institute – a collaborative initiative that brings together people and resources to advance a Gateway Cities policy agenda for Massachusetts,” said Greg Torres, President of MassINC and Publisher of CommonWealth magazine.

This year’s event focuses on Transformative Redevelopment – the pivotal projects that change market dynamics by spurring follow-on investment, leading over time to the transformation of entire downtowns or urban neighborhoods. The Gateway Cities Innovation awards recognize the individuals or organizations that enable these transformative opportunities.

The 2013 Gateway Cities Innovation Award winners are as follows:

Curt Spalding: Mr. Spalding is the Regional Administrator for EPA’s Region 1, which spans the six New England states. He has been a valued partner in redevelopment projects in virtually every Gateway City in the Commonwealth. A notable example of his tenacity is the transformation of Chelsea’s highly contaminated former Lawrence Metals site, which will become a new 152-room Holiday Inn when complete. The complex project has involved coordination between the EPA, MassDEP, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, the City of Chelsea, MassDevelopment, and the site’s private developer.

Marc Dohan: Marc Dohan is the Executive Director of the Twin Cities Community Development Corporation. Under Mr. Dohan’s leadership, the TCCDC has been a powerful agent for neighborhood stabilization. Most recently, working in Fitchburg’s Elm Street neighborhood, the organization has built and rehabbed over 60 units of housing. Acquiring properties that were either in foreclosure or receivership and working with residents to create neighborhood assets and increase homeownership, Mr. Dohan and TCCDC have played a pivotal role transforming a vulnerable neighborhood.

O’Connell Companies: Holyoke-based O’Connell Companies is renowned for their work on large and technically complex projects. As the first private developer to invest in WPI’s Gateway Park, they have joined a small class of firms with the vision and risk tolerance to execute on truly transformative projects. The O’Connell Companies addition of 92,000 square feet of commercial space complements public and institutional investments in the area. Together, these coordinated projects are changing a once-blighted area near Lincoln Square into a growing mixed-use district.

The Merrimack Valley Sandbox: The mission of the Sandbox is to boost the economic and social well-being of greater Lowell and Lawrence by advancing entrepreneurship and innovation. The Sandbox fosters entrepreneurship among diverse populations of residents and workers in the Merrimack Valley including high school and college students, adults, and non-English speakers. The Sandbox runs dozens of programs including workshops, pitch contests, entrepreneur meetups, themed mixers, and twice annual accelerator programs. Through these programs, the Sandbox leverages hundreds of volunteers from the business, non profit, government, and educational communities to serve as mentors, teachers, sponsors, and judges.

Mary Waldron: As the Executive Director of Brockton 21st Century Corporation, Ms. Waldron played a pivotal role facilitating two major downtown redevelopment projects: the transformation of the Knight building into the Station Lofts by Capstone Communities and the rebuilding of the Enterprise Block by Trinity Financial. Both projects are within walking distance of the Brockton commuter rail station. Capstone’s adaptive reuse of an old industrial building (where the catcher’s mitt was invented) was Brockton’s first use of the historic tax credit.

Armando Feliciano and Jay Minkarah: Armando Feliciano is a longtime Springfield community leader and Chairman of the Springfield Redevelopment Authority. After the 2011 tornedo destroyed Mr. Feliciano’s home, he strove not only to rebuild his own property, but to also foster a collaborative partnership between the SRA and DevelopSpringfield, a newly formed public-private economic development organization. As the first CEO of DevelopSpringfield, Jay Minkarah has devoted enormous energy to this joint effort. The opportunity their collaboration has produced is embodied in the Rebuild Springfield Plan – an ambitious, forward-thinking blueprint for the city’s future that the SRA and DevelopSpringfield are now working together to implement.

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