Since taking office, economic development has been my number one priority. In my first year in office, I have launched a new tax incentive program that has already catalyzed new growth – helping both retain existing businesses and attract new development. I introduced a long-awaited Urban Renewal Plan, a sweeping proposal to revitalize Holyoke’s downtown through the reincarnation of the Holyoke Redevelopment Authority. I cut the ribbon on the $168 million Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center, helped complete the city’s new Senior Center, and have introduced new tax incentives for developers to build market rate housing in the downtown. This year, I look forward to beginning construction on a $2 million platform for the restoration of passenger rail service through the city, kicking off Phase 2 of the Canal Walk, and completing the expansion and renovation of the Holyoke Public Library.
Additionally, I have:
- Expanded the City’s ability to assist private projects through the Tax Incentive Financing (TIF) program, by expanding it to up to 20 years. Over the past 18 months we have used the program to aid in the expansion of five companies: Sealed Air Corporation, U.S. Tsubaki, Gateway City Arts, Package Machinery, Dirk Autheroth Cabinetry and ETC Innovations.
- Completed Holyoke’s first Urban Renewal Plan known as “Connect. Construct. Create: A plan for the revitalization of Center City Holyoke”, which will allow the Redevelopment Authority to act for the first time in decades.
- Begun and completed the architectural and engineering design of Holyoke’s first active rail stop for Amtrak rail service to begin in the Spring of 2014.
- Begun and completed the architectural and engineering design of Phase II of the Canal Walk; this project will go out to bid for construction this summer.
- Completed the site plan permitting for the Big Y Supermarket and completed the design of intersection improvements on Lower Westfield Road & Homestead Avenue, which will allow the former Atlas Copco site to host the supermarket.
- Implemented Holyoke’s first ever Center City Housing Incentive Program (CCHIP) to incentivize market rate housing in the downtown area, making Holyoke one of the first five Cities in the state with such a program.
- Bolstered local creative businesses, such as artists and media producers by creating the Creative Economy Industry Coordinator position under the Planning and Economic Development Office.
- Cleaned up the contamination in key properties: one next to the MGHPCC to get it ready for development, another on Mountain Road to get ready for natural conservation purposes.
- Rehabilitated Veterans Park with a $1.4 million grant investment.
- Helped secure critical financing to convert the former Holyoke Catholic High School and Whitings Elementary school into over 50 units of downtown apartments.
- Rehabilitated one downtown parking garage
- Worked to bring about the first public auction since 1976 by putting buildings back on tax rolls.