Economic Development Plans and Reports
The Town of Reading received a grant from the Massachusetts Downtown Initiative to participate in the Local Rapid Recovery Plan (LRRP) program. This program was developed as part of the Baker Polito Recovery Plan and provides municipalities with technical assistance to develop actionable, project-based recovery plans tailored to unique COVID related economic challenges and impacts to downtowns and town centers. The Town of Reading is one of 125 participating municipalities in this program.
The goal of this project was to research and evaluate 26 peer communities, similar to Reading, to identify factors which contribute to economic growth. To identify these factors, the project involved three phases 1) Initial Survey, 2) Follow-Up Interview and 3) Data Collection & Analysis. Information gathered from these three phases was then compared against communities that have had the most growth in the Commercial, Industrial, and Personal Property (CIP) sectors. Through this analysis we were able to identify Economic Development Factors that prove to be influencers to economic growth for our Peer Communities. While some of these factors are merely competitive advantages (factors that are uncontrollable, i.e. highway access), they are factors on which Reading can better capitalize and/or market to attract and retain economic development.
The Economic Development Self-Assessment Tool (EDSAT) is an important tool for municipalities to use to assess their jurisdictions’ strengths and weaknesses with respect to expanding and sustaining economic growth. Through EDSAT, public officials and business leaders collaborate as a team, assessing each of their roles in creating a business-friendly climate. The Town of Reading worked with Northeastern University Dukakis Center for Urban & Regional Policy to undertake this self-assessment.
The Downtown Reading Market Study provided a snapshot of insights and issues facing downtown. This included an analysis of customer patterns, business inventory, analysis of the commercial business mix to help identify the potential trade area for downtown. This report also includes information about demographics, market segments, trends, and market demand for various goods, services and sales leakage (as of 2007).