Status Report from Hopkinton 2020

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“We need specific, measurable, time-bound objectives from the Board of Selectmen,” said Chamber of Commerce President Jack Speranza, in his status update from the Chamber’s Economic Development Partnership with the town, presented to the board at their January 22 meeting.

In September of 2011, the Chamber of Commerce officially partnered with the Town of Hopkinton “to support and enhance existing businesses in Hopkinton, encourage commercial and industrial growth, create jobs, enhance services, and improve the quality of working and living in Hopkinton.” As such, the Chamber’s role is to advise and assist the town in promoting Hopkinton’s economic and community development. Periodic progress reports are also required.

At the January 22 Board of Selectmen’s meeting, Speranza brought the board up to date with the ongoing activities and progress to date of Hopkinton 20/20, the economic development arm of the Chamber of Commerce. To begin, Speranza recapped the commitments that were made, which included creating a strategy to maximize Hopkinton’s connection with the Boston Marathon, identifying and supporting current and future needs common to most businesses, and identifying and advancing policy initiatives that will help Hopkinton stand out as a desirable business location.

To meet those commitments relative to the Boston Marathon connection, Speranza told the board that a working relationship with the newly created MetroWest Tourism Bureau was in place, and a partnership formed with the 26.2 Foundation to advance the creation of an International Marathon Institute. 20/20 also completed outreach efforts with several Hopkinton businesses, Arteriocyte, Liberty Mutual and PerkinElmer, and helped two businesses launch new operations. With respect to policy initiatives, 20/20 was instrumental in Hopkinton’s obtaining a Bio-Ready “Gold” designation from the Mass Biotech Council, the second highest rating, which measures the town’s commitment to supporting biotech companies.

In the short term, 20/20 plans to continue its initiatives on Marathon opportunities and is targeting July 2013 as the date by which an initial set of marketing materials, including an information packet and a 20/20 website, is complete. But in order to move forward effectively with further initiatives, Speranza told the board that specific, measurable and time-bound objectives from the Board of Selectmen are needed to develop a clear vision for Hopkinton’s long term future and to define what Hopkinton will look like in 2020 and beyond.

“From my perspective, until we have a very concrete idea about what we expect to see, it’s going to be very difficult for us, as your partner, to start to move the town in that direction, or to help define what kind of policies and other things we need to put in place to make sure that that happens, that the private sector gravitates to that path,” said Speranza.

To conclude, Speranza suggested working sessions between the Chamber, the Town Manager and designated members of the Board of Selectmen, with a targeted completion date of April 30.

“Thank you for coming in, it was a great update,” said Chairman Ben Palleiko, “and thanks for your recommendations.”