Attleboro gets additional Gateway Cities assistance

February 18, 2022 : The Sun Chronicle, by George W. Rhodes

Attleboro and 12 other Gateway Cities throughout Massachusetts are poised to reap big benefits from an expansion of the Transformative Development Initiative program.

The expansion, which was announced by Gov. Charlie Baker this week, more than doubles the size of the program run by MassDevelopment, which currently operates TDI districts in five Gateway Cities, including Attleboro.

The expansion will invest $23.7 million in the 12 communities over three years.

Gateway Cities are mid-size urban centers that anchor regional economies around the state but lack the resources and capacity to rebuild their once-thriving economies.

TDI is designed to accelerate economic growth within focused districts.

All districts will be awarded TDI “fellows,” who are MassDevelopment employees.

They will provide on-the-ground economic development expertise and collaborative leadership, a news release said.

The fellows will have access to a range of tools to help accelerate development, including technical assistance, grants to support local market development and arts and cultural infrastructure, collaborative workshops, resources and events.

Mayor Paul Heroux said the program will give a boost to the city.

“The TDI program offered by the state is going to help the city by paying for another person to work in a full time capacity to assist with economic development in the downtown area,” Heroux said.

He credited Economic Development Director Catherine Feerick for her work in making Attleboro eligible for the program.

“Attleboro is fortunate to have been the recipient because of the hard work of Catherine Feerick in applying for the position,” he said.

Feerick said the assistance will be invaluable.

“A full-time fellow will help us make better use of what little time we all have to volunteer to these efforts. Now we will receive the full suite of TDI assistance for the next three years, beginning in July,” she said in an email to The Sun Chronicle.

“Having access to the full breadth of TDI grants and technical assistance services means that we’ll receive continual support and partnership from MassDevelopment at every step of the way.”

She said access to such assistance will bring significant changes to downtown.

“Being a full TDI District means we will dramatically increase our capacity to plan and coordinate activities that will visibly improve our downtown,” Feerick said.

“TDI has done incredible things for Attleboro already, through building partnerships, attracting developers and small businesses, and funding visible improvements like the Cuddy Court murals and the new storefront signs that will start rolling out in coming weeks.”

Now new projects will be on the way.

The other districts are in Hyannis, Holyoke, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn, New Bedford, Pittsfield, Revere, Springfield, Taunton, and Worcester.

An existing district in Fall River is also being extended.