In the fall of 2016, the civic leadership in Quincy saw that the city was at a crossroads. Unemployment was low, but employers struggled to find qualified skilled workers. The local economy was shifting—manufacturing remained an important but shrinking sector, while the number of healthcare, retail, and professional services jobs had ballooned. Demographics were shifting too. The number of residents aged 65 and older had grown significantly, while the 25 to 49 age group had shrunk.
The revitalization of Quincy’s historic Downtown, guided by the 1996 Teska Plan, was happening slowly but surely—retail storefronts were filling in with new restaurants and locally-owned shops, and investment in rehabbing upper-floor apartment units was growing. Yet development along the city’s riverfront, one of its best assets, had stagnated. City services were being stretched thin as new development pushed out further and further around the city’s edges. Retail centers that had been the city’s primary revenue generators were feeling the pinch of changing shopping preferences and reduced in-store purchasing.
All of these trends spelled change for Quincy—change in the type of workforce it would need for continued economic success, change in the assets and amenities it would need to offer to attract and retain professionals and their families, change in the way it would need to approach development in order to be efficient and productive. When change is in the cards for a community, it presents not just an opportunity, but an imperative, for the community to re-examine its policies and resources, and to work towards aligning those forces with the winds of change. It was a recognition of this opportunity and imperative that lead to the Strategic Plan for the City of Quincy.