By Tom Daniel
Gloucester enjoyed plenty of good news over the past two weeks thanks to a strong jobs report, local approval of the municipal harbor plan and DPA master plan, as well as the appointment of a new Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) by Mayor Kirk. Here’s a rundown on recent economic and employment activity:
- Jobs The city’s unemployment rate fell by almost 35 percent during the past year (May 2013-14), according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Gloucester’s 5.4% unemployment rate is the lowest since the start of the Great Recession
- Harbor Plan The City’s Harbor Planning Committee voted to approve the amendment to the 2009 Municipal Harbor Plan and Designated Port Area Master Plan. The amendment now must be approved by state Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
Director of Harbor Planning Sarah Garcia has worked closely with the community since 2012 to update the 2009 plan. The Kirk administration has continued to identify ways to expand economic activity along the waterfront in the wake of restrictions on allowable groundfish landings. The new Harbor Plan encompasses feedback and information gathered over the years from several public hearings as well as at two Maritime Port Economy Summits and the landmark report The New Maritime Port Economy, which was published in 2013.
- CAO The City is pleased to welcome Salvatore Di Stefano as the Kirk Administration’s newly appointed Chief Administrative Office. Sal, formerly an executive with the Boston Redevelopment Authority, brings a wealth of job creation experience to his new role. At the BRA, he helped generate 2,000 manufacturing jobs, including more than 700 on the United States’ first “green corridor,” the Newmarket Eco Industrial Zone.
- Asia Exports Mayor Kirk issued a call to the city’s fishing community to participate in a new seafood export program stemming from her recent trip to Japan (see June 19th post below.) The goal of the program is to allow local fishing boats and seafood processors to sell Gloucester’s fresh catch in various Far East Markets, including, of course, Japan, which, at $15 billion in seafood imports, stands as the largest importer of seafood globally.
These are just a sampling of the good news in Gloucester. We look forward to sharing more in the weeks to come, including other developments linked to the Japan economic development mission and progress on initiatives related to our “Green Communities” status including state funds to convert an outdated energy system that will reduce energy costs and the City’s carbon footprint. Stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks.