For Immediate Release - April 12, 2008


New Initiative will Expedite Commercial and Residential Development

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CHICOPEE - Saturday, April 12, 2008 - Governor Patrick today announced the Chicopee River Business Park has been named a municipal growth district, enabling the state to make targeted areas "development ready" and expediting commercial and residential development in the area.

The announcement comes just a few days after the Governor delivered a major speech outlining his economic plan to create a culture of opportunity focused on restrained spending and long- and short-term investments, while preparing for the impacts of a softening national economy.

"Growth Districts are hubs of economic growth and housing development across the Commonwealth," said Governor Deval Patrick. "By identifying these districts and focusing our collective resources on making each one development ready, we are creating the conditions for business growth and community vitalization for years to come."

Chicopee River Business Park is owned by the WestMass Area Development Corporation and crosses the borders of Chicopee and Springfield. The business park covers more than 190 acres with 91 acres available for future development, and 53 acres set aside for a future environmental education center. Within this Growth District, permitting is guaranteed to be completed within 75 days. When completed, the district will hold approximately 190,000 square feet of new office space and an additional 192,000 square feet for light industrial use. The area is located at the intersection of I-90 and I-291/91 with all necessary infrastructure elements to ease business attraction and growth.

Through the Growth Districts Initiative, the Administration will partner with municipalities that have identified one or more areas for significant commercial, residential, or mixed-use growth. By identifying designated growth districts, the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development (EOHED) will focus resources to ensure that each district is truly "development ready."

The Administration will identify a total of 16 growth districts around the Commonwealth. Chicopee is the third community to become a growth district, following Worcester and Haverhill. The initiative offers a focused approach to work with each community ensuring that all required permits are secured, site preparation is completed, infrastructure improvements are identified, and marketing resources are made available. Each district will be put on a fast track for groundbreaking.

The Growth Districts Initiative is another way the Administration is coordinating state resources, building relationships with local government and working with regional economic development planning councils to stimulate long term growth. Now with Growth Districts, a proactive planning process for long term economic growth can be mapped out with municipalities while the state targets its resources to help create the conditions for business and housing growth.