Introduction to Chicopee - City of Opportunity
The City of Chicopee is located at the confluence of the Connecticut and Chicopee Rivers in southwestern Massachusetts' Pioneer Valley. Settled in the 1600's, Chicopee is an old Yankee mill town that has grown into a bustling city with a modern, international character. In the historic center of the city you might find a Polish bakery, Portuguese import shop and an Irish pub comfortably located next to a familiar national restaurant chain. The friendly "hello" that will greet you upon entering any of Chicopee's establishments is likely to have a Chinese, Russian, Spanish or French accent. Elsewhere in the city the international theme is repeated in an equally as exciting and diverse mix of people, business, and industry. The miles of riverbank offer spectacular views and recreational opportunities. Chicopee is also the home of Westover Air Reserve Base.
The word "Chicopee" has been interpreted to mean "Birch Bark Place". Other interpretations are "place of the elms," and "turbulent waters." The Nipmuck Indians were the Algonquin tribe that gave Chicopee its name.
Location & Transportation
Chicopee is the second largest city in western Massachusetts with a population of approximately 56,000. Springfield - the region's largest city is on its southern border - and Holyoke is west across the Connecticut River. These three old cities form the core of an extensive urban corridor pleasantly interrupted by rural communities and open space that extends along the Connecticut River from Hartford Connecticut to the Vermont border. Chicopee is 29 miles from Hartford, 92 miles from Boston, 90 miles from Albany, and 140 miles from New York City.
Chicopee's superior transportation advantages have earned it the nickname: "Crossroads of New England". Chicopee has two exits on MassPike (I-90), easy access to I-91 via I-291 and I-391. State routes 116, 141 and 33 provide regional linkages. The Boston and Maine railroad provides local freight services. Amtrak offers regular passenger rail service from neighboring Springfield just a few minutes away. Pioneer Valley Transit Authority (PVTA) provides local bus service with excellent connections throughout the Pioneer Valley region. Bradley International Airport is a quick commute south on I-91.
Chicopee's Westover Metropolitan Airport local airport shares a runway with Westover Reserve Base. Westover Metropolitan Airport serves private and charter aircraft. It is a unique bonus for tenants of the Industrial Airparks at Westover. It offers instant transportation for the delivery of materials and shipments of finished goods, plus facilities for scheduled air service and charter operations. Jet charters to Atlantic City inaugurated in 1988 have been highly successful. It also provides superior service for corporate air traffic, clients and others requiring fast, convenient transport to or from the industries located at Westover Airparks.
Business & Industry
Chicopee has a strong diversified economic base. Manufacturing provides more than 25% of employment followed by trade and services. The City continues building a modern base adding new jobs and thousands of square feet of new industrial, business, and commercial space every year. Chicopee's newest business park is the Chicopee River Business Park. The park includes almost 200 acres located on the Chicopee River. Infrastructure is complete and sites are available for development.
Chicopee's business mix includes international headquarters, branch plants and subsidiaries of high profile companies. The city is also proud of its many homegrown industries. Fun facts from Chicopee's industrial history include invention of the first friction match, the famous Duryea car, celebrated bronze doors and statuary, Civil War cannons, swords and guns now displayed in museums all over the world.
The Chicopee Chamber of Commerce, incorporated in 1963, is the chief voice of the City's business community. With more than 500 members, it represents a diverse combination of industry, retail and service businesses. Its mission is to improve the overall business climate by uniting, guiding, supporting and speaking for those engaged in business and industry toward the advancement of economic and civic well being for all citizens of the greater Chicopee area. The "Chicopee - City of Opportunity" banner project was sponsored by the Chamber to help promote a downtown beautification program.