It has been the same ol' story, a well worn complaint, the state pays too much attention to the greater Boston area and not enough attention to the rest of the state. True, Fall River does receive a tremendous amount of state aid and perhaps the theory up on the hill is we should be grateful and shut up. But, the majority of us would rather receive the tools to revitalize our area and lessen our need for that state aid.
Here in Fall River and in other Gateway cities the story is simple. Changing economies turned once robust cities into stagnant ones. When these cities failed to change with the times they were left behind. However, the state could have and should have played a key role in reinventing these cities. 40-50 years ago the state should worked with these areas to develop a long term state-wide plan that built upon the strengths of these communities.
Last night in Worcester the City Council a “Gateway Cities Compact for Community and Economic Development” was brought before the council for approval. The idea of this compact is for 11 communities, one of which is Fall River, it binds to work together to bring about work force development, refocus regulations, infrastructure development etc. that will benefit these communities, help them revitalize, and again serve as economic engines for their regions.
The idea of these communities working together for a common cause, the idea that together they may achieve what they have been unable to do individually is both simple and inspiring. I find myself wondering why we are not already doing this. Too often when communicating with the state the needs, demands, and complaints of our area fall on deaf ears, but there is a strength in numbers.