Where there’s a will, is there a way?
The Gateway Cities Journal
There exists a very strong will to rebuild our Gateway Cities. This is evident in all of the creative approaches these communities are taking to sow growth and opportunity. But every will needs a way. Because we make it nearly impossible for local governments to generate revenue to invest in themselves (and the federal government is no longer the partner it once was), it falls upon the state to provide the way.
Lynn Housing Authority and Neighborhood Development (LHAND) is a shining example of the will. The housing authority took the unusual step of creating a development arm that invested in local neighborhoods when private developers weren’t ready to build. LHAND’s effort in the Washington Street corridor is now spurring private investment in downtown Lynn for the first time in decades. Every Gateway City has an LHAND in the making, whether it’s Brockton’s TDI partnership or Fitchburg’s ReImagine North of Main.
State funding is the fuel that makes this hard work on the ground in the community productive. On this score, we aren’t nearly where we need to be, particularly when it comes to housing resources. One of the greatest contributions Gateway Cities can make to the Commonwealth’s economy is providing more housing in inclusive urban cities with strong transit connections—this is the kind environment many people want to live in today, and Boston simply can’t supply enough of it.
The $1.7 billion housing bond bill the legislature passed last session provided very little support to help Gateway Cities strengthen their neighborhoods and increase housing production. Gateway City leaders sought to address this oversight by lobbying for an increase to the highly successful Housing Development Incentive Program (HDIP) at the end of the session, but unfortunately this effort fell short.
In the next session, Gateway City leaders must regroup and make a coordinated effort to better align state housing investment with their needs. Many of these communities are still struggling with the foreclosure crisis; meanwhile, the opiate crisis is only intensifying the problems that the resulting blight and abandonment have brought. Resources can also help Gateway Cities realize compelling housing opportunities. As our most recent research demonstrated, housing tools are key to unlocking the promise of Gateway City TOD and maximizing the potential of the state’s rail infrastructure.
We know the will is there, and we know there can be a way—we just have to work together to fight for it.
Housing and Economic Development
A developer is proposing to tear down the Lynnway Mart Indoor Mall & Flea Market and replace it with a $191 million apartment project.
600 new units of housing will replace the partially-shuttered Quincy Medical Center.
The Brookings Institution argues that recent shifts in housing policy need to be adjusted in order to help renters.
CityLab finds that the next frontier for startups in America is smaller cities.
The MBTA plans to repair the parking garage at Quincy Adams.
A Daily Item editorial slams the MBTA for not making a Blue Line extension to Lynn a priority.
The Worcester Regional Transit Authority holds off on service cuts and hopes to land additional money from the state by agreeing to management and operational changes. Meanwhile, the Berkshire Regional Transit Authority plans to hike some fares and to make some service cuts, but is hopeful it can boost ridership by adding evening service
CommonWealth breaks down the final budget, including the fate of an additional $8 million in funding for regional transit authorities.
CityLab points to Hartford as an example of how post-industrial cities can use transit infrastructure to revitalize their economies.
Alma del Mar charter school in New Bedford applies for state approval to open two new schools and add 1,188 more students.
Chelsea launches a new open data portal to increase transparency.
Fitchburg could receive over $2 million in impact fees from marijuana companies.
Haverhill looks into a ban on single-use plastic bags.
UTEC hosts a youth-led candidates’ forum for the Third Congressional District in Lowell.
Fall River’s Alfred J. Lima Quequechan River Rail Trail is a finalist for ULI’s international open space award.
Lynners share their stories as part of the Beyond Walls festival.
A pop-up children’s museum opens in Peabody.
A new exhibit at the Leominster Historical Society highlights the role of the plastic industry in the history of the city’s economy.
Artists submit proposals for installations in Springfield’s cultural district.
Worcester’s UnchARTed Gallery celebrates ten years.Communities & People
A Brockton hurdler wins silver at the Central American and Caribbean Games.