Members of the Town Council,
As Chairman of the Weymouth Chamber of Commerce I want to state the Chamber’s strong opposition to the 18-month building moratorium that is before the Council.
Our Chamber will continue to support the Mayor’s and other elected official’s ongoing efforts to better understand the town’s water usage through water audits, the DPW’s monitoring and repairing damaged infrastructure, the installation of modern, accurate water metering devices, and the eventual replacement of aging infrastructure. The Chamber also supports efforts to explore any reasonable avenues to identify and potentially acquire water from other resources.
The Chamber supports those measures because the Chamber recognizes the importance of water supply and quality to the town. Water is critical not just for residents, but for the many businesses that contribute significantly to the tax revenue collected by the town. This tax revenue is crucial to maintaining our police, fire, schools, parks, playing fields, libraries, and roads and sidewalks.
The building moratorium will effectively shut down new growth as a critical revenue source. Investment momentum is not a light switch. Although you can shut off investments with a moratorium it will not simply snap back on when (or if) the moratorium is lifted. Stopping meaningful economic investment into Weymouth does not stop investors from investing elsewhere, as they surely will. As word spreads that Weymouth is “closed” it could take years to regain the momentum that will be lost. Our concern is the impact this will have on future budgets and needed projects.
The Weymouth Chamber of Commerce respectfully urges the Town Council to oppose this seemingly draconian measure and allow the town’s elected leaders and Boards to continue weighing the merits of each project on a case-by-case basis.
George Berg, Chair, Weymouth Chamber
The Weekly Wrap-up
The Chamber’s Housing Committee had our first meeting for 2020 at The Watson in Quincy. Thanks to NeighborWorks Housing Solutions for hosting and to our committed volunteer group of experts for helping us to move our Housing Initiative forward.
Peter was in DC over the weekend through Tuesday for some meetings with the U.S. Chamber. He had a chance to visit the National Museum of African American History. Timing was nice as he just finished The Warmth of Other Suns about the Great Migration of African Americans from the South to the North from the World War 1 era up to the 1970’s. He recommends both. If you go to the museum though give yourself several hours – there is a lot to see and read.
Courtney attended a lunch in Boston’s Seaport with new Massport CEO, Lisa Wieland. She talked about the importance of connecting with the business community and provided some updates on existing projects and the authority’s strategic initiatives moving forward. Did you know that if you take the water taxi (think Hull or Hingham) to the aiport, you can get a “ticket to skip” to the front of the security line at Logan? Check it out!
Hull is moving forward with a development strategy around the DCR Park and Carousel. Peter attended a meeting of the Board of Selectman and various local committees to hear a presentation on the plan. It is a solid plan that makes sense. He’ll be posting some more information on the website next week.
Leadership South Shore Class of 2020 attended Economic Development Day on Tuesday, January 28. First stop was hosted by Conway Country in Norwell. Rich Beal, CEO of A.W. Perry gave a presentation update on commercial and housing. New owners of the Plymouth & Brockton Bus line, Win Sargent and John Cogliano, provided an update on their plans to innovate and growth the P&B Bus routes. Current cohort members gave updates from their perspective development roles including Lisa Berardinelli from Hanover Crossing/PREP, Curtis Webb from Bristol Bros. Development, Patrick Brady from Cornerstone Realty Capital, Bill Kingdon from Ellis Realty, and Tom Osuch from South Shore Bank. Second stop took the 25-person cohort to Rock Solid Tops fabrication and design showroom in Pembroke. Final stop of the day was a bus tour led by Rich Beal of Union Point in South Weymouth.
Economic Forecast Presentation
Dr. Mark Melnick of The Donahue Institute spoke at our Economic Outlook breakfast co-sponsored with Envision Bank. We are pleased to share his presentation which included some nice comparisons on how the South Shore stacks up with the rest of the state on key economic factors. It validated some of our work on South Shore 2030 to make the region economically stronger. We were particularly impressed with three slides:
Attending the Baker Administration’s Economic Development Listening Session @ UMass Dartmouth
The Baker Administration has been hosting some regional listening sessions to get input for its economic development strategy -- I participated in one of these in May at UMass Dartmouth. It was the closest session scheduled to us geographically. The session was held by Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, Housing and Economic Development Secretary Michael Kennealy to help inform the Baker-Polito Administration’s economic development strategy for the next four years. The new economic development strategy will be signed by the Governor at the end of this year and guide the administration's legislative agenda.
The room was filled with over 150+ people -- town officials, business professionals, business leaders, non-profits, community leaders, residents, students – an abundance of key stakeholders in the conversation joined in for the conversation. Key themes that came out of the two roundtables that I participated in were spot on with what we are hearing from business leaders across the South Shore:
Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito joined the Chamber and South Shore Economic Development Corp. (SSEDC) leaders, Braintree Mayor Joe Sullivan, Weymouth Mayor Bob Hedlund, and area developers in a discussion held June 4 that focused on economic development and housing initiatives both generally around the Commonwealth and more specifically throughout the South Shore and the Braintree/Weymouth Landing.
Throughout the discussion, which started at Landing 53 (25 Commercial Street, Braintree), Lt. Gov. Polito discussed how the initiative, South Shore 2030, launched by the South Shore Chamber is very similar to what she and Governor Baker are looking to achieve across the Commonwealth, and how the leadership of the mayors and the business community took this vision and made it a reality at the Landing. A plan is important, she said, but without resources and partnerships, it cannot be implemented.
Key stakeholders gathered at the beginning of the month to recognize some critical leadership in the next phase of South Shore 2030’s Housing Initiative. The business voice is a critical component to moving the number on our housing goal of 44,000 new units by 2030. It isn’t only about increased housing production, but the right kind of housing in the right locations – some key housing developments and town initiatives were highlighted during the event and can be found on South Shore 2030’s housing page.
Getting to that 44,000 number will take a lot of effort and leadership from community members, local officials from all 25 communities, small business, big business, all industry representatives. This is bigger than just increasing the number of homes on the South Shore – it is about building our communities and supporting the economic vitality of the region. We have some great leadership here on the South Shore and Rockland Trust’s, Christopher Oddleifson, is leading the charge with a $35,000 contribution to support the project work.
Check out some of the media coverage of this announcement from the sources below.
For more information about the Housing Initiative and/or to get involved in the conversation, contact Courtney Bjorgaard at firstname.lastname@example.org or 781.421.3915.