Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Brockton On Its Way Back

No thanks to the D.A.....

"Brockton trumpets its downtown revival" by Jill Terreri Ramos Globe Correspondent  April 23, 2015

BROCKTON — Take a drive down Main Street at sunset and it becomes clear why the city wants to revitalize its downtown. The street is poorly lit and there is little activity, save at a few businesses — a barber shop, a Dunkin’ Donuts, an auto parts shop. Corner stores attract crowds that hang out by the entrances, but many storefronts are dark.

Brockton appeared to be on the rise a decade ago, yet the city has continued to struggle, beset by a perception that it was in decline and hit hard by the loss of manufacturing and a devastating foreclosure crisis.

Now, though, Brockton appears to have new energy: More than $100 million is being invested downtown, and a new city administration is aggressively pursuing economic development opportunities, prompting renewed attention from the state.

How much tax loot is going to be lost?

City leaders and investors are hoping that this time, at last, the renaissance will be real.

“The biggest challenge we face is changing the perception of Brockton,” said Mayor Bill Carpenter, who took office in 2014.


But even with the steady hum of construction equipment, perception can be a hard thing to change.

“The challenge has been to let the world know that all of these things are happening,” said the city’s economic development consultant, Gordon Carr.

Globe is helping you out.

Brockton, about 25 miles south of Boston, would seem to have the elements for a successful city: three commuter rail stops, a well-run regional transit system, a public school system that fares well when compared to those in other gateway cities, and a renewed interest in urban centers among younger workers.

It has approximately 94,000 residents, and nearly a quarter of them are immigrants, according to 2013 estimates from the Census Bureau. But it has significant challenges, including an opiate addiction crisis that claimed 14 lives last year.

Oh, it's a sanctuary city with a drug problem. Great.

Thomas McDonnell, a community organizer and lifelong Brockton resident, said that with all the false starts the city has seen over the years, an “I’ll believe it when I see it” attitude has settled in. He is encouraged that the city is trying to address its problems, but said crime continues to be an issue.

Now you know where I'm getting it from.

The city also continues to struggle with high property taxes, said former mayor Jack Yunits, a lawyer who still lives in Brockton. As his property value fell during the foreclosure crisis, his taxes rose, he said. “That’s not a formula for success for anyone,” he said.

But Yunits is encouraged that Carpenter is trying to generate revenue from other sources.

Ben Forman, who studies Brockton and other so-called gateway cities as research director for Mass INC, said there are signs this recovery might be different than other efforts by the city. Gateway cities qualify for certain assistance programs under state law.

When other cities were taking advantage of historic tax credits, Brockton was not. That has changed, Forman said. But he warned that it will take a lot of investment to make downtown Brockton a place where people want to be....

I knew it.


I wish I could say the same for this blog. Instead, I'm falling further behind.


"Woman who sparked Amber Alert pleads not guilty to kidnapping" by Monica Disare Globe Correspondent  August 07, 2015

BROCKTON — Agnaldo Garcia was babysitting two children at their father’s apartment in Abington Thursday, when a woman knocked on the door, identifying herself as the local police, officials said.

Garcia opened the door and quickly found out it wasn’t the police.

The children’s mother, Bruna Gomes, pushed her way into the home, pepper-sprayed Garcia and took her 7-year-old son and 8-year-old daughter as they screamed for her to stop, officials said.

Gomes’s lawyer, Amber Cohen, painted her as a mother who felt she had exhausted all ways to see her children....