The Regeneration Project is a platform within the NBEDC that focuses on research, engagement, and the development of policies that encourage dynamic and sustainable economic growth for a thriving New Bedford.
The Regeneration Project began in March of 2014 when Mayor Mitchell asked many of the region’s business and community leaders to serve as members of the New Bedford Regeneration Committee. The task before the committee was to articulate a strategy for the City’s economic regeneration that builds on the committee’s collective experience in leading successful enterprises. The committee’s final report is a statement that was intended to attract broad popular buy-in, shape the economic development strategy over a five-year period, and signal to both private investors and government officials outside the region that New Bedford has a clear set of objectives.
Gerry Kavanaugh served as chairman and the NBEDC staffed the committee’s work. The Boston-based non-partisan think-tank MassINC and the UMass Dartmouth Urban Initiative, together facilitated the committee’s work and drafted their report—Uniting in Pursuit of Growth and Opportunity, which was presented to Mayor Mitchell in November of 2014.
How the Project is Organized
The first strategy recommendation of the Regeneration Committee’s 2104 report is titled “Organizing for Success”. Within this section is the recommended action of developing a cross-sector leadership group to focus on the development of long-term goals and policy by adding a new arm to an existing organization such as the NBEDC. In 2015 the NBEDC Board agreed to take on this work in the form of a standing committee as allowed under the NBEDC by-laws. The project is co-chaired by Gerry Kavanaugh as the original committee chair and Tony Sapienza as the President of the NBEDC, and is staffed by the NBEDC team.
The foundation of the Regeneration Project is relevant data gained from sound and balanced research. To this end the NBEDC partners with UMass Dartmouth, MassINC and other content experts to conduct topic research, bench mark New Bedford with other similar communities, and craft policy based on the committee’s work.
The committee of business and community leaders meets on a regular basis as the place where long-term policy development and strategic planning concepts are continuously formed and tested. Outreach to specific stakeholder groups and technical experts are critical and are conducted as appropriate for each topic area. The work done by this group is intended to a be highly valuable resource for the Board of Directors of the NBEDC, local and state agencies, Mayor and City Council of New Bedford, federal and state delegations, and the general public.
It is a goal of the committee to publish policy statements on specific areas of focus that can serve as a resource in the early stages of development of a physical or programmatic asset in New Bedford for the purpose of greater long-term economic impact to the community.
Certain issue sets will require greater depth of study and from time to time such studies will be commissioned to provide the appropriate depth of knowledge to advance a particular issue or set of issues with local and regional political leaders.
The project will also conduct independent data-driven analysis that measures progress and accountability through the formation of an “economic development scorecard”. This scorecard can be utilized as a tool to create confidence, identify areas of ongoing need, and prioritize resources.
The MassINC Gateway Cities Innovation Institute played a key role in the early work of the Regeneration Project. The Gateway Cities Innovation Institute leverages MassINC’s research, polling, and policy team to strengthen connections across communities and helps Gateway City leaders develop and advance a shared policy agenda. We are a proud participant in their efforts and find the MassINC research and policy work an invaluable resource for our work in New Bedford.
1213 Purchase Street
New Bedford, MA 02740