This report presents a series of marketing and economic development strategies for the central business district in Chicopee Center known as the Market Square area. The City of Chicopee, along with the cities of Holyoke and Springfield, is part of the urban center of the Pioneer Valley region. Like many older industrial cities, and like many cities with a small downtown area, Chicopee finds its economic fortunes at an ebb. Although Chicopee is certainly not a city in distress, it is believed that steps should be taken to ensure that the Market Square area does not slip into serious decline. There is every reason to believe that a concerted effort by all concerned parties could help Market Square fulfill the promise of its people and its potential. It is the hope of the researchers of this report that this document will be of use in determining the best course to take in moving toward that goal.
The work for this project involved a number of elements. Prominent among them were an analysis of demographic and market information for the Market Square area; collecting feedback from local business owners; a visual survey of the physical environment of the area; and an assessment of the development potential of certain key parcels in the area. From all the information-gathering and analysis emerged a series of strategies for the marketing and economic development of Market Square. Some strategies relate to specific parcels, and others apply to the area as a whole.
Five important pieces of this area are given particular attention in this report: the Rivoli Theater building, the Ferris building, the Masonic Temple, the former Mathis Oldsmobile property, and the vacant lot opposite Cabotville Industrial Park. Research was conducted into the status and the particulars of these parcels, and detailed information is summarized in tables that are attached to this document in the Appendix. The development potential of each is assessed, and specific strategies are recommended for each.
Strategy recommendations are also made for the Market Square area as a whole. A summary of these broader recommendations follows this section. These recommendations are concerned with setting a variety of standards for the Market Square area, as well as with the possibility of establishing a "grand idea" for the development of the area.
Section 1: Pages 1-109
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