The purpose of this study is to determine the feasibility of developing industrial sites at three locations in the City if Springfield. Due to a shortage of industrial land the City is extremely interested in identifying parcels of land upon which industry can be sited.
The study was undertaken by the Springfield Economic Development Corporation in conjunction with the Center For Economic Development at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. The objective of the effort was to encourage the development of new or existing industry at sites whose development would be in keeping with the planning goals and objectives of the City of Springfield. This report represents a three month effort to prepare an action plan for development of these areas .
The report is being written in economically hard times with Springfield still suffering the effects of a national recession. The Northeast has been particularly hard hit by the recent recession and Springfield has been no exception. The City has seen the loss of several key industries and many smaller ones, resulting in high unemployment and a stagnating economy. Despite slightly improved unemployment rates for Springfield in the past year, the City recently saw cutbacks at several major employers including Mass Mutual's Corporate Headquarters, and the permanent shutdown of Digital's Springfield Facility that was announced in late October. These cutbacks represent a continuing pattern of economic decline for the City in recent years, particularly in the area of industrial employment
It is in light of these current economic conditions that the City of Springfield has embarked on an expanded economic development effort particularly in the area of industrial development. While it is highly unlikely that a major industrial facility, such as an automotive plant employing several thousand workers, will locate in Springfield and provide the City with a dramatic turnaround in the short term, there are reasons for optimism when examining the City's future.
Despite the current economic situation, there are several factors favoring the economic revitalization of Springfield and Western Massachusetts. Relative to most major Northeastern cities, Springfield has a relatively low cost of living and doing business. The region benefits from a highly trained work force and is the location of several noteworthy higher educational institutions. In many respects Springfield is the Crossroads of New England at the intersection of the region's major road and rail systems, providing industry with access to nearby major markets.
Section 2: Pages 1-52
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