Posted on Tuesday, October 2 2007 by Heather Brandon
Word is spreading that on Wednesday, October 3, at 3:00 pm, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick (pictured) will be in Springfield with his development cabinet and Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray in order to present details of a new collaboration between the city and the state called the Springfield Partnership.
According to a June release, the development cabinet facilitates coordination among state agencies “by bringing together the Lieutenant Governor, the Secretary of Administration and Finance, the Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs, the Secretary of Housing and Economic Development, the Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development, [and] the Secretary of Transportation,” overseen by Ron Marlow. Click here to see pictures of cabinet members.
The goal of the Springfield Partnership is evidently to augment the work of the city’s Finance Control Board.
Members of the public as well as the press are invited to the presentation, which is scheduled to take place at 436 Dwight Street, also known as the Springfield State Office Building, on the third floor.
Governor Patrick is also expected to announce details on the opening of a governor’s office to be located in the same building.
Update: below is Governor Patrick’s statement in anticipation of today’s announcement, also published in today’s Republican. In addition, see Dan Ring’s article centering on the cash infusion and highlighting a conflict about the siting of a homeless assistance center, but neglecting to let people know that the 3:00 pm meeting today is open to the public.
Springfield is rebounding. After years of serious challenges, the city is beginning to see real change. Today the budget is balanced; 98 percent of city employees have agreed to long-term collective bargaining contracts, and the city has saved millions by moving municipal employees onto the state health insurance plan.
To accelerate Springfield’s recovery, we are launching the Springfield Partnership, a new collaboration between the city and the commonwealth to augment the work of the Finance Control Board. Our goal is to develop a working economy that will sustain a working community.
We begin by securing public safety. Next month, 20 new Springfield police officers will complete training and report for duty. The Control Board has approved the mayor’s request for an additional $1 million to enhance local policing efforts. The commonwealth will supplement that funding with over $500,000 more. We will also continue to deploy the State Police gang unit in the city. The bottom line: more officers, actively engaged in the neighborhoods they serve, to help prevent crime.
The commonwealth will make other direct investments in Springfield. We will support a Fire Training Facility in the city to serve Western Massachusetts. We will also match the city’s contributions to the Worthington Street Shelter Project to meet critical needs for the homeless, while moving toward securing permanent housing for homeless families and individuals. Working through the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, we will refurbish the convention center parking garage to include better lighting and retail outlets. Looking ahead, we are assessing the feasibility of commuter rail connections between Springfield and Hartford and of siting a Renewable Energy Research Center in the city.
Working with local business leaders, the state will take an active role in attracting new jobs to the city and region. There are strong incentives for businesses to locate here. Commercial and residential rents are competitive. Cultural attractions and recreational facilities are excellent. The city is accessible by road, rail and Bradley International Airport. It is well-positioned along the Knowledge Corridor in proximity to great colleges and the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. These and other features make the city fertile ground for light manufacturing, financial services and a range of investment from the innovation economy.
Locating a destination casino in Western Massachusetts is consistent with this strategy. It will create thousands of good local jobs and have a multiplier effect on local investment as well.
To prepare people for these and other new opportunities, we will invest in skills training programs and one-stop career centers. Spending will be targeted based on a comprehensive assessment and strategic plan from the Hampden County Regional Employment Board to ensure the work force is strong.
The Readiness Project is our statewide effort to implement the next generation in education improvement pre-K through college. I have tasked Education Adviser Dana Mohler-Faria and the Springfield Control Board to create an aggressive plan to use Springfield schools as a laboratory for exciting innovations in early education and care, expanded time for teaching and learning, and better strategies to connect local colleges and universities with primary and secondary schools for tutoring and mentoring.
Streamlining and strengthening city government must continue, and the Finance Control Board retains a vital role in this for a little while longer. Everything from a full assessment of school financing to electronic records management to energy efficiency is on the table to ensure savings and fiscal stability. The Control Board is temporary, however, so a Local Governance Advisory Committee will examine the structure of Springfield City Government to determine what form of government would help to avoid the missteps of the past so we are ready for the eventual transition to complete self-government.
I believe Springfield’s success is important to the commonwealth as a whole. You do not and you will not stand alone. The Springfield Partnership is a great opportunity to work together to energize a great city and a vital region. Working with local leadership, legislators, businesses and community groups, we can tap the considerable potential of Springfield and the region, and reenergize a vibrant hub for growth in Western Massachusetts.