An Act Relative to Neighborhood Stabilization and Economic Development
The Gateway Cities Journal
Gateway City legislators gathered yesterday to unveil An Act Relative to Neighborhood Stabilization and Economic Development. Filed by Representative Antonio Cabral (House Docket 3507) and Senator Brendan Crighton (Senate Docket 1578), the bill furthered the ideas for strengthening blighted and distressed neighborhoods that MassINC and the Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations assembled last fall with help from more than two dozen housing and community development leaders.
This comprehensive bill:
- Establishes a “spot blight rehabilitation program” so communities could acquire and rehab distressed vacant properties faster and more efficiently.
- Creates a commission to find creative ways to bring older structures up to current building codes in weak real estate markets where values are too low to support the level of investment necessary to modernize buildings.
- Incorporates “neighborhood stabilization” into the Massachusetts School Building Authority’s enabling statute so that investments in school facilities can be coordinated with other neighborhood revitalization efforts in a community.
- Create a capacity-building effort modeled on the Transformative Development Initiative to help cities and towns lead comprehensive neighborhood revitalization efforts.
The bill also increases the annual cap of the Housing Development Incentive Program (HDIP) from $10 million to $20 million.
At the bill’s unveiling, Representative Cabral, Senator Lesser, and Senator Crighton spoke passionately about the importance of Gateway City neighborhoods, both to the residents who call them home and to our Commonwealth more broadly. The fact is, Gateway City neighborhoods are the crux of so many issues that matter to residents of our Commonwealth, whether it’s healthy communities that offer residents ladders to economic opportunity or dense, urban neighborhoods to anchor more sustainable, lower carbon, transit-oriented development.
Together, members of the Gateway Cities Legislative Caucus are focusing attention on the common set of challenges they face, including maintaining older housing stock at a time when the federal government no longer provides support, as the wounds inflicted by the national foreclosure crisis still run deep. This comprehensive package would provide much-needed tools.
Tomorrow, February 1st, is the last day for State Senators and Representatives to sign on to this legislation as co-sponsors. Please reach out to your legislators to make sure that they are aware of this bill and the benefits that it would provide to your communities.
Housing & Economic Development
CommonWealth and the State House News Service chronicle yesterday’s neighborhood stabilization bill unveiling with Rep. Cabral, Sen. Lesser, and Sen. Crighton.
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