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Chamber creating economic blueprint

The South Shore Chamber of Commerce is working to create a strategic plan to expand the region’s economy over the next 10 years, and the health insurance industry, financial services, and corporate support services have been identified as potential areas of economic growth.

The chamber tapped Market Street Services, an Atlanta-based consulting firm, to facilitate the study and planning process. The goal is to put together a blueprint to follow for the next decade.

The study comes at an important time, as a new governor is about to take office and the region is seeing a growth spurt. Several residential developments are being built near public transportation, including luxury condominiums at the Hingham Shipyard (near the MBTA commuter boat) and SouthField, the multiuse development under construction near the South Weymouth commuter rail station. SouthField alone could have up to 2,855 homes at completion.

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“We want to think about how all this residential growth creates a competitive advantage for us,” said Peter Forman, the chamber’s president and chief executive officer. “We hope to get a 10-year-plus strategy on how the South Shore can manage this growth and turn it into wider economic opportunity for more people.”

Much work remains. The research and strategic planning process was slated to take about nine months; it started in July and is expected to be completed by March. The work was split into four phases: a competitive assessment of the region; a targeted business analysis; a recommended strategy for regional development; and an implementation plan.

“This is more than an afternoon brainstorming session,” Forman said. “The next phase will be starting to think through some of the industry sectors that we could attract here, and how we would attract them.”

Leading the way is a steering committee of nearly 30 community leaders, including Mayor Thomas P. Koch of Quincy; Mayor Susan M. Kay of Weymouth; Curry College president Kenneth K. Quigley Jr.; Carol Bulman, chief executive of Jack Conway & Co.; and Bob Rivers, president and chief operating officer of Eastern Bank.

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“It’s a very exciting exercise, and there are many people involved in it,” said Rivers, who cochairs the steering committee.

Rivers said it is the first time that a regional strategic plan has been created for the area. “This is really going to become a road map,” he said.

For more information on the chamber’s regional development plan, visit www.southshorestrategy.com.


Emily Sweeney can be reached at esweeney@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney.