Cariddi Calls for Boost to Creative Economy
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — During the last decade, the creative economy has become a critical sector of Northern Berkshire County and western Franklin County. Today, the creative sector accounts for more than 6,000 jobs in the region and has proved to be a major driver in the revitalization of older cities and towns.
The reinvigoration of cities such as North Adams has facilitated new neighborhood investments and generated new employment opportunities. In 1993, 20 percent of North Adams' downtown storefronts were occupied while today nearly 80 percent are being utilized.
As Berkshire County continues to lose population, a significant challenge is to lure young artists, entrepreneurs and "hidden tech" startup enterprises to the area. Gail Cariddi, candidate for the 1st Berkshire District in the Sept. 14 primary, said Massachusetts is falling behind other states such as Rhode Island in offering housing and other relocation incentives to those in this sector of the work force who seek affordable and supportive places in which to live and work. She points out that the 1st Berkshire District contains many former mills and vacant or underutilized buildings which can be converted for artistic, cultural and entrepreneurial purposes.
"To help foster the continued growth of the creative economy, I pledge to seek appointment to the Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development," said Cariddi. "I also support the creation of a venture capital fund to assist developers with financing for the purchase and rehabilitation of buildings for studio, retail and housing space for the creative and entrepreneurial community."
Cariddi elaborates on her plans for the growth of the region on her website, www.electgailcariddi.com.