Submitted by the Middlesex 3 Coalition
To help continue the momentum of recent growth in the region, the Middlesex 3 Coalition hosted an economic development conference recently where Massachusetts Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Greg Bialecki spoke about the impact of transportation on business development in Burlington, Bedford, Billerica, Chelmsford and Lowell.
Regional transportation needs were among the major topics discussed by municipal leaders, state officials and private sector stakeholders. Faced with a significant lack of coordinated public transit in the area, Middlesex 3 has been working to deliver an easier way for people to get to and from work.
Recently, the five municipalities received a Community Innovation Challenge (CIC) Grant from the state for transportation coordination. The funding, totaling $147,000, will be used to coordinate and improve transportation resources for businesses and residents with the objective of creating a transportation management association.
During a panel discussion with municipal managers and Greg Bialecki, Secretary of Housing and Economic Development, the strengths as well as the challenges and goals of the communities were a key topic.
“By supporting regional growth through strategic investments in transportation and by promoting business development, we are making communities across the Commonwealth great places to live, work, and play,” said Secretary Bialecki. “I applaud the Middlesex 3 coalition and all of its members for their hard work on behalf of these communities.”
A key part to Middlesex 3’s success so far is the public-private partnership. Robert Buckley, a Senior Partner at Riemer & Braunstein and Middlesex 3 Coalition leader, moderated the discussion and commented on the success the group has had thanks to the commitment of its members.
“The Route 3 corridor is a vibrant area, seeing lots of redevelopment action,” said Buckley. “We have a unique situation here where these community leaders and private sector players are working together to satisfy the needs of those who live, work and play in the area.”
Municipal managers highlighted recent development projects in the corridor, such as the 3rd Ave. project with Wegmans and Keurig in Burlington, as proof of the growth potential of the area. In addition, the Middlesex 3 Coalition is working with area businesses and education institutions to coordinate educational resources with the needs of the business community.
“We’ve shown how effective it can be to pool resources to start and complete regional initiatives,” said Richard Reed, Bedford Town Manager and leader of the municipal component of Middlesex 3. “Our communities want to work with developers and businesses and offer viable options for them to move to the area, and Middlesex 3 facilitates those discussions.”
The event concluded with breakout discussions for municipalities, developers and business leaders to connect on regional opportunities and available resources.