In the spring of 2014, the Town of Winthrop hired the Edward J. Collins, Jr. Center for Public Management at the University of Massachusetts Boston to help develop a Strategic Plan for Economic Development. The Center’s project team began its work by carefully analyzing data in order to understand Winthrop’s current business environment, and to learn how it has changed over time. Multiple sources of information were used, including the Census Bureau’s Decennial Census, American Community Survey, and County Business Patterns, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and Claritas retail leakage data. In addition, the project team distributed and analyzed a survey of local businesses, and interviewed a series of residents and business persons. The data analysis produced 26 significant findings, which can be found in the Winthrop Economic Trends Report, together with tables and graphics explaining each finding (see Appendix A for a list of the findings). In the Trends Report, Winthrop is frequently compared to six other waterfront communities in Massachusetts and to the Commonwealth itself. The comparison communities include: Beverly, Chelsea, Hull, Revere, Salem, and Swampscott. While some of the same data is incorporated into this Strategic Plan, the Trends Report contains significantly more information than can be repeated here.
Over the course of several meetings, the trends data was presented to a Steering Committee convened for the project, consisting of residents and business persons appointed by the Town. Steering Committee Members then used this information, along their personal knowledge of the community, to develop a proposed vision, strategies, goals, and actions to help grow the Winthrop economy. (See Appendix B for a list of Steering Committee participants.)
On June 19, a community forum was held to gather input into the proposed plan elements. The meeting began with a presentation of the key findings of the Trends Report. Attendees then reviewed and discussed multiple goal areas, meeting with Steering Committee Members and conversing with other residents and business persons during the course of the evening. All had an opportunity to put down their thoughts and insights onto poster paper during the meeting. Following the community meeting, the project team posted an online survey seeking feedback on each proposed strategy, goal, and action. The ideas and feedback gathered from participants at the community forum and the online survey have been incorporated into the final version of this Strategic Plan.
Part of the UMass Boston Community-Engaged Teaching, Research, and Service Series. http://scholarworks.umb.edu/engage
Edward J. Collins, Jr. Center for Public Management, University of Massachusetts Boston, "Five Year Strategic Plan for Economic Development: Prepared for the Town of Winthrop" (2014). Edward J. Collins Center for Public Management Publications. 27.