This week was an exciting one for the great city of Quincy. Governor Patrick signed into law an act that will move forward the huge redevelopment of the city's downtown.
The project is big and exciting and involves office space, housing units, hotels, retail, restaurants and a movie theater. It also involves lots of new jobs – estimates are about 4,000 construction jobs and nearly 6,000 permanent ones -- for this city of over 90,000 people.
Not surprisingly, what interested me was the financing of the project – most specifically that $6.8 million of Recovery Act funds are being used for the development of the Quincy Concourse. Now, granted that is just a small piece of a $1.3 billion project, but it's an essential piece of the city's downtown redevelopment plan that was approved early on in the project's planning and it's yet another demonstration of how the stimulus program works, building essential infrastructure to ensure that a worthwhile project can get done.
I thought of that this week when I went out to see Iredale Mineral Cosmetics Company, a company that is growing like crazy in Great Barrington. Great Barrington is small – the town manager Kevin O'Donnell told me the population is about 4,000 people – and needless to say a growing international company in their midst is most welcome.
The founder of the company, Jane Iredale, loves the Berkshires (who doesn't?) and was determined to keep her company there. But its growth was becoming an issue. Fortuitously, the balcony of Jane's house overlooks the 17,700-sf Bryant Elementary School, which closed about five years ago.
A $4.6 million stimulus-funded Recovery Zone Facility Bond, along with other financing, is helping Jane renovate the school into her company headquarters and it is keeping Iredale in Great Barrington. The company also plans to add another 70 jobs over the next three years and to conduct training seminars for its employees all over the world in this facility, which is also good news for area hotels, restaurants, taxis and stores.
Stimulus funds were a small part of both these stories – but they were an important element and they got the job done. And at the end of the day, that is what matters most.