By Sue Ellen Woodcock
Last week, Town Manager James McKenna and Council President Peter Gill signed the Commonwealth Community Compact with Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo joining in the celebration of Winthrop striving to commit itself to improvement and partnering with the Commonwealth for various state grants and programs.
“I see Winthrop as a town on the move,” Polito said. “I see nothing but good things, one of the best in the Commonwealth.”
According to McKenna, municipalities that pledge to adopt best practices through compacts will get a bonus on selected state grants programs and will be prioritized for various technical assistance programs. Winthrop will be able to obtain extra points on certain grants, and a grant program specifically for “Compact” communities. Each contract is voluntary and runs for two years. “This underscores the distance we’ve come,” said McKenna to the many town employees and department heads in the room. “We have a great team and everyone is part of today’s celebration.”
“You’re putting this community in a great position to partner with the state,” Polito said.
DeLeo, also a resident of Winthrop, said the joining of forces, especially when it comes to local aid, is a positive move for the town
“The focus of this is on economic development,” McKenna said. “We feel Winthrop has a lot of potential and strength.”
The Baker-Polito Administration created this act this past January to develop specific “community compacts” with local governments to work toward mutual accountability, reducing red tape and promoting best practices. In signing the contract the town of Winthrop pledges to adopt the following best practices:
- Preparing for Success: There is a demonstrated ability to partner with the private sector, non-profits, and public sector organizations in order to advance the housing and economic development vision and goals of the community as evidenced by the successful completion of public/private/non-profit project(s).
- Competitiveness: There is evidence of the continuous use of performance measures for the evaluation of how competitive the community is compared to other communities in terms of attractiveness for commercial development, and housing expansion.
- Job Creation and Retention: There is a documented economic development plan (in Winthrop) which leverages local economic sector strengths, regional assets, encourages innovation and entrepreneurship, and demonstrates collaboration with educational institutions for the development of a workforce
Polito said the Commonwealth will work with the Town of Winthrop as a partner in implementing these best practices, including prioritizing technical assistance when that is needed to accomplish execution of a new best practice.
“This moves the community forward in a serious way,” McKenna said.