Over the next decade, Dorchester, Mattapan, and Roxbury will be the ripest places in the city for growth. That was the message from Mayor Martin J. Walsh, who told the Dorchester Board of Trade last Thursday that it will be up to the business community to embrace changes in their neighborhoods. And growth, he said, will offer opportunities and economic development.
“Issues around housing and development will come up,” he said, “and “we’ll make sure to take care of that.”
In a speech delivered to nearly 300 business owners in attendance at Venezia Restaurant in Port Norfolk for the board’s annual Mayor’s Luncheon, Walsh outlined some of the pro-business changes that his administration has made thus far, including moves to lift the city’s liquor license cap, an overhaul of the inspectional services department, improvements in public works such as trash pickup and snow plowing, and initiatives to expedite the city’s permitting process.
Walsh energized his polite audience when he said he was going off script to talk about what he sees for Dorchester’s future. Considering the big changes in store along Morrissey Boulevard, including the sale of The Boston Globe property, as well as development along Dorchester Avenue, “growth can be a good thing,” Walsh said. Especially, he added, for long-term and family-owned businesses.
While conceding that the Boston Redevelopment Authority “needs changes,” including the consolidation of economic development back under the BRA umbrella, the solution will ultimately prove beneficial for the neighborhood, especially, he said over the next ten years.
“I talk about the growth and the Innovation District as it continues to grow and growth in the Downtown Crossing area as it continues to grow, and we talk about growth in Fenway area and Copley Square area. We’re also looking at growth in the neighborhoods,” he said.”
An added benefit? Jobs.
“When new companies come here, the companies are also going to employ people that live in the neighborhood.”
As he stood in front of the restaurant’s windows with views of the Boston skyline rising from the mouth of the Neponset River, Walsh asked the crowd to think ahead with open minds. “I want you, business leaders, to keep your eyes out, to let people know that Dorchester is open for business.”