Baker unveils new development approach

Lynn being used as ‘test case’ for collaboration

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE

A NEW WORKING GROUP will facilitate the revitalization of the city of Lynn, using expedited permitting and coordinating development of sites with cross-jurisdictional issues, the Baker administration announced Monday.

Gov. Charlie Baker traveled to Lynn to announce the Lynn Economic Advancement and Development Team.

“If this is a model that could be successful here – and we believe it can be – it’s an opportunity for us to replicate it and to do it in other Gateway Cities around the Commonwealth,” Baker said.

Baker said the collaboration would be a “great opportunity” to “do some great things” in Lynn and added:that he hoped the model would be replicated elsewhere. “So thank you very much for in some respects being our test case with respect to this way of thinking about economic development and business development,” he said.

The team will include members of the Lynn state legislative delegation, US Rep. Seth Moulton, Lynn Mayor Judith Flanagan, City Council President Daniel Cahill, MassDevelopment CEO Marty Jones, Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash, Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton, and Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack. The group will meet quarterly.

Lynn Mayor Judith Flanagan said she would like to see a hotel on the waterfront; the cleanup of polluted sites, including a former drycleaner; and better marketing of available land near the water.

“What we’re looking for is some assistance with marketing the available waterfront property. We have about 300 acres of land down there,” said Flanagan, who said the city has no hotels.

National Grid owns separate parcels near the waterfront and has been “inventorying” its land there, Flanagan said. She added that the expedited environmental permitting “might be part of” the new group’s focus on Lynn, and said help from the state and federal government in cleaning up brownfields would be welcome.

“We’ve got some unused parcels here in Lynn that are in some really prime locations, but we can’t get them developed because the cleanup costs are prohibitive,” Flanagan said.

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Andy Metzger

Reporter, CommonWealth magazine

About Andy Metzger

Andy Metzger joined CommonWealth Magazine as a reporter in January 2019. He has covered news in Massachusetts since 2007. For more than six years starting in May 2012 he wrote about state politics and government for the State House News Service.  At the News Service, he followed three criminal trials from opening statements to verdicts, tracked bills through the flumes and eddies of the Legislature, and sounded out the governor’s point of view on a host of issues – from the proposed Olympics bid to federal politics.

Before that, Metzger worked at the Chelmsford Independent, The Arlington Advocate, the Somerville Journal and the Cambridge Chronicle, weekly community newspapers that cover an array of local topics. Metzger graduated from UMass Boston in 2006. In addition to his written journalism, Metzger produced a work of illustrated journalism about Gov. Charlie Baker’s record regarding the MBTA. He lives in Somerville and commutes mainly by bicycle.

About Andy Metzger

Andy Metzger joined CommonWealth Magazine as a reporter in January 2019. He has covered news in Massachusetts since 2007. For more than six years starting in May 2012 he wrote about state politics and government for the State House News Service.  At the News Service, he followed three criminal trials from opening statements to verdicts, tracked bills through the flumes and eddies of the Legislature, and sounded out the governor’s point of view on a host of issues – from the proposed Olympics bid to federal politics.

Before that, Metzger worked at the Chelmsford Independent, The Arlington Advocate, the Somerville Journal and the Cambridge Chronicle, weekly community newspapers that cover an array of local topics. Metzger graduated from UMass Boston in 2006. In addition to his written journalism, Metzger produced a work of illustrated journalism about Gov. Charlie Baker’s record regarding the MBTA. He lives in Somerville and commutes mainly by bicycle.

National Grid’s Massachusetts president, Marci Reed, said the utility would work with the city, state, and federal officials on developing the land. The utility has about 30 acres by the waterfront. “The process is really just beginning,” Reed said.

“I’ve said since day one in no uncertain terms that economic development in Lynn is my number one priority for the district,” Moulton said. “I love Newburyport, too, but they’ll be just fine while we focus a little bit on Lynn.”

Michael Norton of State House News contributed to this story.