Building on Our Strengths to Move Worcester Forward
Since its earliest days as a city, Worcester and the concept of hard work have been synonymous. Access to good jobs that pay a living wage has always been the bedrock of this city. Today, Worcester remains a hard-working and entrepreneurial city that continues to grow and prosper despite the recent difficult economic time that our nation is facing. Prior to my election as Mayor, many key economic development projects in the city were stalled. During my first year in office we have worked together to get our city’s economic development agenda back on track. I have had the pleasure of working with our City Council, City Manager, Business leaders, Congressman McGovern, and our state delegation to help make remarkable progress on the city’s economic development agenda.
New Economic Development for Worcester: Thanks to remarkable teamwork of many local officials and constituents, today we have more than a billion dollars of projects underway in the city. These projects include: the long awaited $570 million City Square Project Downtown, a $25 million life science and office building at Gateway Park, the $125 million CSX project, the $400 million research center at UMass and many more. These efforts will create more than 1,200 new jobs and new tax revenues to support city services.
Mayor’s Task Force On Job Growth and Retention: This past year we convened a 35 member Task Force on Job Growth and Retention that worked over a six month period to create a compressive report (Click here to see the report!). The report includes 16 recommendations on how the city and state government can help create jobs and grow our tax base in Worcester. Some of these recommendations have already been adopted and have been met with broad support, while others are currently under consideration.
Mayor’s Brownfields Roundtable: We have also continued to convene the Mayor’s Brownfield Roundtable, which brings together public and private sector leaders to address our city’s challenges. This past spring, the Roundtable held a conference for developers and business leaders to help educate them about development opportunities in Worcester, and it continues to work to help spur new economic growth.
TIF Local Labor Agreement: This fall we developed a new city policy that will create more opportunities for local companies and workers to find employment with local development projects which receive Tax Increment Financing (TIFs) from the city. This move was made in an effort to insure that city funded tax incentives created more benefits for local residents.
Equitable Tax Classification: In response to the recent loss of many small businesses to the suburbs, this past year the City Council voted for the first time in 8 years to share the property tax burden more equitably between the residents and businesses of the City. This shift will help address the loss of local employers and help to keep small businesses and the jobs they create in Worcester.
Small Business Roundtable: The establishment of regular small business meetings between the Mayor and the small business community of the city was an important recommendation coming out of the Mayor’s Task Force on Job Growth and Retention. Following this recommendation we will launch our Small Business Roundtable in March with special guest Treasure Steve Grossman for the first of a series of regular meetings between city officials and representatives of our small business associations from across the city. Our hope is to better support our city’s thriving small business sector