Shining a light on opportunities in cities across the state

January 2, 2011

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I ENJOYED your series of editorials on the Massachusetts gateway cities and the light shone on the needs and opportunities in these important cities around the Commonwealth (“From old factories to new hope,’’ Editorial, Dec. 26).

Recognizing that it is difficult to cover all aspects of this topic, a couple of points are worth highlighting:

First, the city of Holyoke has a new asset and potential catalyst for economic development in the Green High-Performance Computing Center.

This represents an investment of about $165 million in the building and facility in downtown Holyoke led by a research consortium of MIT, UMass, Harvard, Boston University, and Northeastern. More information on this project, including the current innovation-based economic development strategy to leverage this opportunity, can be found at and

Second, the editorials emphasize the importance of rail connections, such as the MBTA and Amtrak service in Haverhill. The 2010 Massachusetts Department of Transportation Rail Plan identifies priority rail routes and corridors that would provide or enhance rail service to many of the Commonwealth’s gateway cities. The plan also calls for enhanced transit-oriented, sustainable development at train stations, consistent with state sustainable development principles and current federal government initiatives.

Dan Hodge
The letter writer is principal economist with HDR Inc., which has done work related to some of these strategic planning efforts.