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February 10, 2005


Funds to bolster city revitalization, spur new businesses, create new jobs


Governor Mitt Romney today awarded 12 Bay State cities smart growth technical assistance grants, helping them spark economic development and generate new jobs in their downtown areas.


In addition, Romney announced more than $120,000 in state grants to help fund five projects consistent with smart growth principles.


“If we are to attract new businesses and jobs to Massachusetts, we must be innovative in creating clearer, faster and more predictable paths for economic development. These grants will help us to reach those goals,” said Romney. “By targeting development to areas where there is already infrastructure in place, not only can we revitalize our older communities, but we can also curb sprawl as well.”


Romney said the communities of Chelsea, Attleboro, Brockton, Fitchburg, Haverhill, Holyoke, Lawrence, New Bedford, Pittsfield, Revere, Springfield and Worcester will share $40,000 to improve their economic competitiveness by assessing their permitting processes and overall environment for business development.


The dozen cities receiving the funds will be working with the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties and Northeastern University’s Center for Urban and Regional Policy to promote responsible economic development through the use of a self-assessment tool, a website template geared to attract new development and an economic development training curriculum.


Five other smart growth related grants totaling $120,834 are being awarded for projects slated to be completed in the next six months, including:


Chelsea: $30,000 to plan for the rezoning and redevelopment of two underutilized commercial parcels, Parkway Plaza and the Mystic Mall. Both sites have potential for successful smart-growth, mixed-use developments.


Holyoke: $30,000 to develop an Integrated Water Resources Management Plan.


Holyoke (Pioneer Valley Planning Commission): $8,334 for a municipal and regional Water Conservation Plan covering the Barnes Aquifer and for developing a Transfer of Development Rights program.


New Bedford: $22,500 for the creation of smart growth zoning and public design guidelines for the 95-acre Hicks-Logan-Sawyer District.


Pittsfield: $30,000 to update their zoning ordinance to ensure its consistency with the Commonwealth’s sustainable development principles, Pittsfield’s Community Development Plan and with all laws. They will also develop a Right-to-Farm ordinance.


“These grants respond to interest expressed by communities and regional planning agencies in having assistance from the Commonwealth in pursuing the Romney Administration’s smart growth goals,” said Commonwealth Development Secretary Douglas I. Foy. “This effort puts the Administration in the vanguard of smart urban economic development by tackling head-on the barriers to growing jobs in our cities.”


“Funding for these competitive grants comes from the environmental bond bill,” said Environmental Affairs Secretary Ellen Roy Herzfelder. “Criteria used to determine these awards included consistency of a proposed project with the Romney Administration’s sustainable development principles and the likelihood that it would have a significant impact on land use practices in the near future.”





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