Monday, March 28, 2011

The Emily Rooney Show - Lynn, MA

Great show about giving the City of Lynn a chance on NPR at lunch today. Great job by Jim Cowdell of the EDIC and Adam Riley, a WGBH correspondent who recently swept through our city trying to figure out how we as residents of this great place, get past the raised eyebrow when we tell people we are from Lynn.

Emily Rooney opened with the right highlights. Gorgeous coast lines, proximity to Boston, cheap real estate, burgeoning downtown, and now... development on the Southern Waterfront.

Adam Riley took the mic first and explained that he had lived here for 5 years near the water. Loved how diverse and cosmopolitan Lynn was when he lived here. Walk, run, or bicycle down Lynn shore Drive along the Atlantic ocean and hear many different languages. Go into the downtown and various neighborhoods throughout Lynn and enjoy many different cuisines from many different cultures. He said he loved living in Lynn but felt he had to defend it whenever he told someone where he lived. "Well I live in Lynn, but right on the Swampscott line" or "I live in Lynn, but I just rent, we are saving to buy a house somewhere else." His program tonight on Greater Boston will attempt to dive into that question. How do we get past the stigma! It made me think a bit about my own approach to living in this great city. Is this blog a celebration of who we are or a giant defensive statement against who you think we are? Maybe a little of both.

Jim Cowdell from the EDIC also joined Adam and Emily on the program. He hit on the rezoning of the city in 2004 which led to $35 million in development and the influx of 250 residents downtown. He made some great forward looking strategic statements. The approach is about residents first, commercial second. Get that number to 500. Bring more of those priced out of the Boston market to Lynn. Speaking personally, I am so happy to live among these neighbors. An incredible place to be as a young professional working in Boston.

Matt O'Neil got a few sound bites related to the Blue Ox success in Downtown Lynn. One thing that really stuck out was his comment amount building great things. His restaurant is truly a great dining spot. It makes coming to Lynn for dinner an experience. He draws people in from Peabody, Middleton, Nahant, the North End and all over the Greater Boston area. Build it and they will come does work when it's the right thing and has a certain level of quality associated with it.

Cowdell got to plug the 4.5% loans for small business looking to open up shop in our Downtown. You can even fund up to 50K in startup costs through these 4.5% loans. Finally, the establishment of the Arts & Culture District in a very specific area of the Downtown will lead to further creative opportunities both through arts organizations and opportunities for digital media, graphic design, photography, performance, and visual art related jobs.

Tonight at 7PM, watch WGBH's Greater Boston for more about Lynn, MA. In the words of EDIC director Jim Cowdell, "You will fall in love with our city, if you give us a shot!"


  1. Big thanks to Emily Rooney and crew for shining the spotlight down on our humble diamond in the rough of a city. I am pleased that our fair and deeply misunderstood city is getting a chance to shine and clear up the undeserved black eyes through this program. Thanks to Jim Cowdell of EDIC for setting the record straight. I moved here a dozen years ago and have completely fallen in love with it. Yes, there are significant social problems here but the city has a lot going for it and I still believe it has a bright future.

    Linda Werbner

  2. Linda,
    I couldn't agree with you more. Great job by Jim Cowdell. Did you watch the PBS program just now? The Mayor was on with Seth Albaum from It was a great piece. I will share a link to the video online if we find one.

  3. I watched the show and enjoyed it. I just hope that people outside of Lynn watched it. Lynn does have a lot to offer, and hopefully it keeps getting better. I have lived here 10 years now, and have really just started to venture out to DTL, mostly due to the positive press people like Corey and Seth have given the area. The Auditorium is bringing more and more people downtown, and these other events are working as well. Keep up the good work!......PD

  4. Great segment -Seth and Jocelyn were great! G. Beckwith was so on it with his comments - was everyone listening to him? - building up the middle class base is so necessary and crucial to making Lynn work! 90,000 people need the blue line and better means to access Boston as one commuter rail stop is hardly adequate and getting to Revere not ideal. One stop is OK for 250 people living downtown but what about the rest? All those supporting residency of city workers have been saying that we need to build on the middle class to get the schools and business here - they are the real turnaround.

  5. Yes, build up of middle class can be expanding on our success in areas such as Ward 1 and Ward 7 as well as more young professionals in the Downtown area. Totally agreed.

    I do not support residency and I still agree with you on this. :-)

    Even our commuter rail used to have more stops in Lynn. We need to investigate that again. I'm never giving up on Blue Line. The ferry coming to the waterfront should be an additional win for the transportation challenge that Mr. Beckwith mentioned. Surprised that wasn't brought up.


  6. You miss the point - the bulk of the middle class in Lynn are the City workers - they leave and the rest will follow. To build up the city, the middle class needs to stay and grow. More business will come if they are here. Blue Ox is not catering to the poor unemployed in the city.

  7. 90,000 residents in the City of Lynn. Approximately 3,000 city employees. 2,300 of those in the school department (which most are exempt from residency).

    According to online city data, in 2006 30% of the people who live in Lynn work in Lynn.

    So ~27,000 people choose to work in Lynn and live in Lynn and not as employees of the city.

    I just don't buy the argument that we lose Lynn's entire middle class population by hiring the right person for the job regardless of where they live. I do see how it could solve some of the nonesense in City Hall, but I don't see the negative.

    Even if we did lose a portion of the 700 city workers, it would be a blip. If we lost all of them it's 0.7% of our population.


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