BOSTON, July 30 -- Gov. Deval Patrick, D-Mass., has issued the following news release:
Governor Deval Patrick today joined Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera and other local officials to participate in a walking tour of the revitalized downtown area in Lawrence, stopping at local businesses and meeting with small business owners on Essex Street.
"Thanks to our growth strategy of investing in education, innovation and infrastructure we have been able to help revitalize the City of Lawrence," said Governor Patrick. "Through these types of collaborative efforts, we are making our communities great places for residents to grow and thrive."
The tour included stops at several small businesses in the heart of downtown Lawrence, including Tarshi Development & Properties, DKarmens Salon and Silverio Insurance Agency. At each location, the Governor discussed with business owners the economic climate of Lawrence and how it impacts small businesses.
"Growth requires investment," said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Greg Bialecki. "Public investment has already triggered tremendous changes and private investment in the City of Lawrence, and will lead to further private development in the future."
"The Patrick Administration has been there for Lawrence, the Governor was there from day one for us and his Administration has never said no to our needs," said Mayor Rivera. "Being a rookie mayor, it's great to have the Governor and his team in your corner. The Governor's ideas around helping Gateway Cities like Lawrence will help us make Lawrence better."
Earlier on Wednesday, Governor Patrick toured the expansion of Lawrence General Hospital, the only not-for-profit hospital in the region and an independent community provider. The hospital is a 189-bed, 41-bassinet acute care hospital located in Lawrence. Earlier this year, the hospital announced a $72 million multi-year plan that includes renovation, expansion and modernization of the campus and includes the construction of a new 42,250 square foot surgical building.
Lawrence General Hospital participates in the MassHealth Delivery System Transformation Initiatives program, a federal-state jointly funded demonstration initiative for integrated care, electronic safety and quality innovations, and alternative payment models at Massachusetts' seven safety net hospitals.
The Commonwealth has been a committed partner with the City of Lawrence, providing support and oversight to help the city rebound from extreme fiscal challenges and strengthen their economic future. In April 2010, the Patrick Administration appointed a Lawrence Fiscal Overseer to work cooperatively with the former Mayor and the City Council to provide the tools to restore fiscal stability to the city. Since then, the city and Fiscal Overseer have implemented and built on successful financial practices, achieved efficiencies in city operations and aggressively pursued property, excise and parking ticket collections. Both Standard and Poor's and Moody's rating agencies recently upgraded the city's bond rating and financial outlook in recognition of the city's improved financial climate.
The Patrick Administration remains committed to revitalizing the Commonwealth's gateway cities. In the 2013 MassWorks Infrastructure Program round, Lawrence was awarded nearly $900,000 for infrastructure improvements including renovation of the Essex Street Connection and alleyways that provide critical linkage throughout the downtown and supports Northern Essex Community College'sDr. Ibrahim El-Hefni Allied Health & Technology Center, which opened in March of 2014. This area of downtown Lawrence was identified as a Priority Development Area in the Merrimack Valley Regional Plan. In 2009, Lawrence's Gateway and Canal Revitalization District was named a Growth District.
As a result of the Patrick Administration's partnership, the City of Lawrence's budget is balanced for the fourth consecutive year, without using one-time reserves. For fiscal year 2015, the city is meeting its school funding obligations, hiring six new police officers, has a fully funded capital stability fund as required in the oversight law and achieved a historically low 2 percent increase in health premiums due to its participation in the Group Insurance Commission (GIC).