On June 30, 2016, HUD Hartford Field Office Director Suzanne Piacentini and Senior Management Analyst Marc Boucher, along with partners from the North Hartford Promise Zone (https://www.hudexchange.info/programs/promise-zones/promise-zones-overview/), attended the Pioneer Valley Conference on Transformative Development. The conference featured a panel of economic development leaders representing the Pioneer Valley's urban core of Springfield, Chicopee, Westfield and Holyoke, that discussed a recent report issued by MassINC's Gateway City Innovation Institute on Transformative Development. The report--Rebuilding Renewal: An Analysis of State Investment in Gateway Cities and a Work Plan for Delivering Transformative Development--was co-authored by Dan Hodge, principal of Hodge Economic Consulting, who presented its findings.
The "Gateway Cities" of Massachusetts share many similar challenges that the Promise Zone, and many other former industrial cities in Connecticut, face. Additionally, Hartford and Springfield are the largest cities in New England's Knowledge Corridor, an interstate partnership of regional economic development, planning, business, tourism and educational institutions that work together to advance the region's economic progress.
Panelists included Samalid Hogan, Project Manager for the Holyoke Innovation District; Laura Masulis, MassDevelopment's Tranformative Development Initiative Fellow in the City of Springfield; Peter Miller, Westfield's Director of Community Development and Planning; and Michael Vedovelli, Chicopee's Director of Community and Economic Development.
The discussion covered a range of topics such as regulatory barriers, the linkages among issues of low educational attainment, poverty and jobs, and long-term disinvestment, and how each community is assembling a concentration of resources to achieve their goals.
Michael Vedovelli shared a creative way that Chicopee is using its HOME funds: The Multifamily Owner Investment Program. The program provides $16,000 in the form of down-payment assistance and rehabilitation costs to help people buy a three-family home as an owner occupant. The program works as a grant if the purchaser chooses to live there for 16 years. For people who chose to sell or move elsewhere in less time, they will receive $1,000 for every year they live in one of the units and have to pay back the remaining money.
|Content Archived: January 3, 2018|