The Gateway Cities Journal

Engaging the business community in Gateway City economic development


Jay Ash, Secretary of Housing and Economic Development for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Leaders from across the state came together in Lawrence this week for a wide-ranging conversation on engaging the business community in Gateway City economic development efforts. Co-hosted by MassINC, the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, and the Lawrence Partnership, the forum featured very substantive remarks from Alex Fischer, president and CEO of the Columbus Partnership; Secretary Ash; Bob Rivers, president and COO of Eastern Bank; and a panel of leaders running private economic development organization in Massachusetts.

We know from our work on both Transformative Development and education that creating 21st century Gateway Cities is going to require private sector leadership and investment. With fewer large corporations headquartered in our Gateway Cities, a great deal of creativity is needed to figure out how to get deeper engagement from those that remain as well as leaders running burgeoning new business in the region. One successful approach is private nonprofit economic development organizations. Through these entities, business leaders agree upon long-term local economic development priorities, and then work collaboratively to pursue them.

To help foster dialogue about how you build such organizations, MassINC unveiled another installment in our Leading Together series at the Lawrence event. In 2016, we plan to continue exploring topics of leadership. We welcome your ideas and continued partnership.

— Ben Forman


Housing & Economic Development 

Sales of homes in Gateway Cities have jumped 20 percent in 2015 according to a new report from the Warren Group.

Governor Baker, EOHED Secretary Jay Ash, and US Representative Seth Moulton team up with local officials to revitalize Lynn.

The unemployment rate in Brockton is at a seven-year low following the recession, with jobs in trucking leading the way to the recovery, according to state data.

Haverhill gives approval to a Boston-based developer to build additional apartments in the city’s downtown.

Deacon Giles Inc., a new microdistillery in Salem, gets a $150,000 loan from MassDevelopment.


Newly released research by Transforming Education points to social-emotional skills as a key factor for a student’s ultimate success. The Rennie Center for Education Policy also recently released a policy scan on social-emotional learning. Social-emotional learning is a key pillar of the Gateway Cities Education Getting to Know Gateway City Leaders Vision. Earlier this year, MassINC issued a report exploring SEL from the Gateway City perspective.

In Washington, the reauthorization of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act moves forward with changes that will encourage states to incorporate measures of social-emotional learning into their accountability frameworks.

The Baker-Polito Administration awards $1.5 million in Advanced Manufacturing Training Program Workforce Development Grants to 10 workforce development teams in Massachusetts, seven of which are in Gateway Cities.

Writing for Commonwealth, the presidents of Regis University and Northern Essex Community College announce a new partnership to grow he state’s skilled workforce by capturing the talent of Gateway City residents.

Talks are ongoing between the Fall River School Committee and Superintendent Meg Mayo-Brown on a contract extension.

Governing writes about how states are lowering reporting requirements for childcare subsidies in order to make it easier for parents to work and keep their kids in care.

Creative Placemaking

Lawrence Community Works offers loft space to artists in Lawrence to nurture a creative hub in the city.

!AHA Fall River receive’s grant from MassDevelopment’s Transformative Development Initiative to host events that spur revitalization of Old Second Street.


The Baker administration unveils a bill that streamlines regulation of municipal government, including giving cities and towns more power to issue liquor licenses and allowing them to bypass requirements to print certain legal notices in area newspapers.

Sen. Anthony Petruccelli of East Boston says he is leaving the Senate to join the lobbying firm of Kearney, Donovan, and McGee, setting off a scramble for his seat.

The Worcester City Council votes 6-5 to shift a greater share of the municipality’s tax burden onto businesses, reversing an approach taken the last five years. A T&G editorial urged the council not to shift course.

In Brockton, the City Council Finance Committee approves dropping the residential tax rate by 4.3 percent in response to rising property values.


A traffic impact study for the proposed Brockton casino quotes public safety officials from communities with casinos around the country saying traffic is easier to handle around gaming facilities than sporting events or shopping malls.

Massachusetts Gaming Commission Chairman Stephen Crosby says he wants to hear what Springfield residents think of the MGM redesign.


The Haverhill City Council approves a contract to put a 2 megawatt solar installation on top of the high school in a deal that will cut power costs from 20 cents a kilowatt hour to 13 cents. 

Salem and Swampscott are aggregating their residents to negotiate better deals for electricity.


Holyoke Medical Center celebrates the opening of its new $500,000 Wound Care Center.

The Health Policy Commission gives a $1 million grant to Lowell General Hospital for work to cut down on hospital readmissions.

The Worcester Board of Health approves a clean needle-exchange program. 

Criminal Justice

Ralph Gants, chief justice of the Supreme Judicial Court, visits the newly opened legal services center in Lawrence, which is intended to help people who lack resources or don’t speak English access the court system. 

Project COPE in Lynn and the Essex County District Attorney’s office offer drug offenders a chance to clear their record in return for going straight.


Complete streets advocates say the federal transportation reauthorization more or less maintains the highway-centric status quo.

The Atlantic Cities looks at revitalization through highway teardowns, including in smaller cities like New Haven and Syracuse.

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