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From Research to Results

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In From Research to Results, we highlight efforts and initiatives that have transpired as a result of the Urban Initiative’s work with its partners at MassINC, the Gateway Cities Coalition, the Gateway Cities Legislative Caucus, and members of Governor Patrick’s Administration. These developments are a reflection of the strength of our collaborative work in achieving the goals of the Gateway Cities Coalition as set forth in the Gateway Cities Compact and the groundbreaking research of MassINC in their 2007 report, “Reconnecting Massachusetts Gateway Cities.”

Release of MassINC’s report Reconnecting Massachusetts Gateway Cities February 2007

In cooperation with the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution, MassINC conducted significant research on economic development trends in Massachusetts, which culminated in the release of their landmark report entitled Reconnecting Massachusetts Gateway Cities: Lessons Learned and an Agenda for Renewal. The report identified eleven “Gateway” cities throughout the Commonwealth that have experienced steady and significant economic decline in recent decades as a result of neglect and flawed state economic and community development policies that have not only concentrated development in key knowledge industries in Greater Boston, but that have pushed development away from traditional urban cores and into the suburbs. This research report served as the impetus for subsequent developments and the creation of the Gateway Cities Coalition.

Urban Initiative and MassINC sign an agreement to work collaboratively on leading and promoting Gateway Cities Initiative November 2008

In November 2008, Chancellor Jean MacCormack established the Urban Initiative at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth in response to recommendations made in MassINC’s Gateway Cities report, which challenged the UMass system to become more deeply involved in setting an urban agenda for the Commonwealth and bringing their institutional resources to bear for the benefit and redevelopment of the 11 Gateway City communities. As a result of the Chancellor’s actions, MassINC and the Urban Initiative immediately began discussions around a potential partnership between both organizations that could unite the 11 Gateway Cities in an innovative and collaborative effort to redirect the state’s attention to the concerns of the Gateway Cities and their residents. These discussions led to the signing a memorandum between MassINC and the Urban Initiative establishing a formal partnership that has provided an organizational framework within which to assist in supporting and promoting the interests and efforts of the Gateway Cities and their leaders.

Gateway City Mayors & City Managers sign Gateway Cities Compact May 19, 2008

On May 19, 2008, the Mayors and City Managers of the Gateway Cities gathered together at the Old State House in Boston to sign an historic document uniting their administrations and communities in a collaborative effort to develop and pursue policies that can work collectively to promote the revitalization of their communities.

Gateway Cities Compact Signing

Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray Announces the Brownfields Support Team Initiative
May 19, 2008

In addition to offering welcoming remarks and expressing the Patrick Administration’s support for the Gateway Cities cause during the signing of the Gateway Cities Compact, Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray also announced the Administration’s new Brownfields Support Teams Initiative, which will bring together the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development (EOHED), and MassDevelopment to expedite the remediation and redevelopment of contaminated brownfields.

Gateway City Legislators form a Legislative Caucus June 2008

In June 2008, members of the state legislature who represent Gateway Cities formed a Gateway Cities Legislative Caucus, which is co-chaired by Representative Antonio Cabral of New Bedford and Senator Stephen Buoniconti of Springfield.

MassINC Releases Policy Brief: Going for Growth
Promoting Business Investments in Massachusetts Gateway Cities

In July 2008, Mass Inc released its first in a series of Policy Briefs devoted to public policy concerns in the Gateway Cities. The brief, entitled “Going for Growth: Promoting Business Investment in Massachusetts Gateway Cities” looks at the issue of geographic targeting and reevaluation of the state’s economic development programs to promote new business and industrial activity in the Gateway Cities and more effectively use limited state resources.

Going for Growth Policy Brief

Governor Patrick and Lieutenant Governor Murray Announce 5 Pilot Sites to be Targeted for Assistance through the Brownfields Support Team Initiative
July 30, 2008

Following up on the announcement delivered by Lt. Governor Murray at the Gateway Cities Compact Signing event regarding the new Brownfields Support Teams Initiative, Governor Patrick announced that five pilot sites were identified to receive assistance through this new initiative. Of the five sites selected, four of the projects are located in the Gateway Cities of Fall River, Haverhill, Springfield, and Worcester.

Undersecretary Tina Brooks Announces the Gateway Plus Action Grant
September 2008

As a part of Governor Deval Patrick’s commitment to community and economic development in the Commonwealth’s Gateway Cities, the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) announced in September of 2008, a grant funding initiative for Gateway “Plus” communities to address neighborhood redevelopment in critical areas of each community. The Gateway “Plus” communities included not only the original 11 Gateway Cities, but an additional 9 communities that fit within DHCD’s 4-point eligibility criteria. These 9 communities have similar characteristics and histories to those of the 11 Gateway Cities and face significant challenges to renewal and economic development in the 21st Century knowledge economy. The action grant is intended to “support local planning efforts to expand housing opportunities for the Commonwealth’s residents, resulting in revitalization that creates and restores vibrant mixed-income neighborhoods.” In addition, the grant calls on communities to develop action plans that “reflect a shared vision of a neighborhood improvement strategy” by promoting opportunities for residents to become engaged in the process.

The Urban Initiative and MassINC sponsor the first Gateway Cities Conference
Fall River, MA
October 3, 2008

Gateway Cities Legislative Caucus Launches Series of Meetings & Tours in Gateway Cities
October – November, 2008

In October 2008, the Gateway Cities Legislative Caucus launched a strong of meetings and tours in the Gateway Cities. These events offered legislators an opportunity to meet fact-to-face with local officials as well as business and community leaders to discuss the particular concerns within each city and to discuss possible policy reforms and recommendations that could shape the Gateway Cites agenda. Thus far, Caucus meetings have taken place on the following dates in the indicated communities:

  • October 7, 2008: Pittsfield & Springfield
  • October 15, 2008: Brockton
  • November 20, 2008: New Bedford

For further information regarding Caucus events and initiatives, please contact Representative Antonio Cabral’s office at 617-722-2140 or Senator Stephen Buoniconti’s office at 617-722-1660.

Governor Patrick Announces $1.35 Million in Gateway Plus Action Grants
November 25, 2008

On November 25, 2008, Governor Patrick and Undersecretary of Housing and Community Development, Tina Brooks, announced $1.35 million in Gateway Plus Action Grants for economic development efforts in 18 Gateway Plus communities. Administered by the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), each community was awarded $75,000 in planning grants to promote efforts to revitalize struggling areas in Gateway Cities through an emphasis on mixed-income neighborhoods. The communities receiving grants included Chelsea, Chicopee, Fitchburg, Haverhill, Holyoke, Lawrence, Leominster, Lowell, Lynn, Methuen, New Bedford, Pittsfield, Revere, Salem, Springfield, Taunton, Westfield, and Worcester.

DHCD’s Action Grant Award Announcement

Gateway Cities Legislative Caucus Files “An Act to Promote Economic Development in Gateway Cities” (House Bill No. 2702)

Presented by Representative Antonio Cabral of New Bedford

On January 14, 2009, Representative Antonio Cabral of New Bedford and several of his colleagues in the Gateway Cities Legislative Caucus filed a significant piece of legislation that targets initiatives and incentives for economic development in Gateway Cities. The bill defines Gateway Cities using the Department of Housing and Community Development’s (DHCD) criteria and includes the original 11 Gateway Cities of Brockton, Fitchburg, Fall River, Haverhill, Holyoke, Lawrence, Lowell, New Bedford, Pittsfield, Springfield, and Worcester, as well as 12 additional Gateway Plus Communities, which include: Barnstable, Chelsea, Chicopee, Everett, Leominster, Lynn, Malden, Methuen, Revere, Salem, Taunton, and Westfield. The bill has been filed with the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies which is chaired by Representative Brian S. Dempsey, a Gateway City Legislator from the City of Haverhill. The Urban Initiative, MassINC, and the Gateway Cities Coalition look forward to working with their partners in the Legislative Caucus to see through passage of this important bill.

House Bill No. 2702
Description of the bill’s proposals

Gateway city mayors and city managers unite in Boston on the steps of the Massachusetts State House

Legislative Hearing and Press Conference
September 30, 2009

Gateway City Mayors & City Managers Celebrate Passage of Key Provisions in the State's Economic Development Bill
August 9, 2010

Read the Official Press Release

Download a Copy of the Legislation