BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) — A lot of state investment goes into Boston, but a new political force called the Gateway Cities Innovation Institute will make sure the rest of the state is given due attention. At an official launching celebration at the State House Wednesday, the new center stated its goal of revitalizing a network of 24 midsize cities across the state, including Springfield, Pittsfield, Holyoke and Chicopee.
“Well we’ve seen already through legislative successes that gateway cities have, that there’s strength in numbers,” said Gateway Cities Innovation Institute Executive Director Ben Forman. “This institute is about providing capacity to help gateway cities, get the best ideas out there, and move them forward.”
The institute was created to address the disproportionate amount of state investment in Boston compared to the rest of the state.
“For too long our state policies, especially around economic development …around education, health care, transportation, have been too focused just on solutions for Boston,” said Sen. Benjamin Downing (D-Pittsfield). “What we need to do a better job of is making sure that our communities, our gateway cities, those 24 regional economic drivers have the tools and the strategies they need in place.”
With a unified voice, advocates aim to raise the political profile of gateway cities on Beacon Hill. The Patrick administration has already committed to investing in midsize towns through education and small businesses.
“We need to make sure that the resources get to every one of these communities, those are human resources, educational resources, financial resources,” said state Treasurer Steve Grossman.
According to advocates, gateway cities are home to 15 percent of the state’s population, yet account for 45 percent of the state’s welfare cases and 50 percent of the state’s jailed youth.
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