CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – A historic area in Chicopee is helping to boost the local economy. The UMass Donahue Institute held a news conference Tuesday on the economic impact of the Westover Metropolitan Development Corporation.
The Donahue Institute is a public research arm of UMass. It completed a study on the Westover Metropolitan Development Corporation (WMDC) that highlighted the growth of the former Westover Air Force base. When the Airforce base was forced to close, many businesses suffered.
John Vieau, Mayor of Chicopee told 22News, “As part of the Air Force closing, Westover Metropolitan Development Corporation was formed by the state and the city to help recover from the economic impact of the base closing and the manufacturing jobs and losses that we faced.”
However, since the development of the WMDC, business is booming. Specifically, the study found that there are more than 100 businesses located within the three airparks of the WMDC that employ over 3,600 people.
The study additionally found that jobs in the area typically pay more than the state average and are available to workers at all levels of education.
“There’s been a great upswell of the local community and it’s been encouraging to see how that has transpired over the years and where it’s going,” said Jim Hosey, board member of the WMDC.
The businesses within the airparks and the airport also contribute meaningfully to taxes. Businesses in Chicopee paid a total of $4 million in local taxes in 2021, and businesses in Ludlow paid over $1.8 million. This level of economic growth isn’t limited to just Chicopee and Ludlow, it’s having an impact all throughout western Massachusetts.
“Folks take their paychecks home and they spend them in their communities and that’s income and revenue to their tons of local businesses there and there are the supply chain relationships between all the vendors and their vendors and so on that connects the activity here to the activity in the state,” said Rodd Motamedi, Senior Research Manager at UMass Donahue Institute.
The WMDC is hoping to continue to create more jobs and generate more revenue moving forward.