February 17, 2016

$1.2M statewide economic program launches

Courtesy
MassDevelopment has helped put in place a new pilot program that will benefit Gateway Cities.

A pilot program designed to put cities in touch with economic experts to tackle their most pressing issues has been launched with an initial $1.2 million in funding.

The program is a partnership between MassDevelopment and the National Resource Network that develops solutions to help cities address economic challenges and increase their economic competitiveness. It is the first time the program has been applied statewide, having been put into place in 2014 in 26 cities through initial funding of $10 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The effort will be supported with up to $1.2 million in funding, including $375,000 from MassDevelopment.

This new program throws the state's 26 Gateway communities -- which include Worcester, Leominster and Fitchburg -- into a familiar scenario of competing for resources. Only seven cities and three of the state's 10 Transformative Development Initiative Districts, which include Worcester's Theater District, will receive the economic assistance provided by the pilot program.

Cities will be able to apply beginning in mid-February. Cities that are chosen for the program will then go through an assessment phase lasting three to six months and engagement phase lasting six to twelve months.

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